Picture the scene, you’ve spent an hour trying to get the family together to take a nice photo, just one. Having finally taken it you notice about half the people have their eyes closed.
Well two Facebook engineers have developed a rather creepy new tool that can ‘open’ people’s eyes in pictures.
While it should be pointed out that the technology is still in development the results are, as you can see below, quite impressive.
While there are a plethora of apps that can help fix blemishes or remove red-eye, actually recreating the human eye is staggeringly difficult.
“Humans are very sensitive to small errors in facial structure, especially if those faces are our own or are well-known to us; moreover, the so-called ‘uncanny valley’ is a difficult impediment to cross when manipulating facial features.” explains the report.
In essence, how do you fix the photo without making someone look dead behind the eyes?
To overcome this hurdle the team utilised a type of artificial intelligence known as a “exemplar generative adversarial network” or ExGAN. The software was originally designed to create realistic looking faces from scratch but the engineers realised that it could be used in another way.
Instead they took the technology and tasked it with recreating just one very specific part of the human face, and instead of using a vast database of different faces as a reference point they only gave it multiple pictures of one person.
Using a massive collection of celebrity red carpet images the engineers were able to teach the system to get better and better at recreating a person’s eyes.
This particular type of AI works best when it’s fed lots and lots of images and if there’s one place where there are lots of images of ourselves, it’s Facebook.
With over 3.5 billion images on the social network Facebook has already been offering advanced facial recognition for some time. For the company to move into advanced photo editing is hardly a surprise then.
As we mentioned at the start, this is still in the research phase, but it wouldn’t be an enormous stretch to imagine that we’ll be seeing features like this being rolled out on Facebook before the end of the year.