Tech by VICE

This Software Can Plaster Someone Else’s Facial Expressions Onto Your Face

It could also be manipulated to make a target look like they’re saying something they’re not.

by Rachel Pick
Oct 16 2015, 9:00am

Well, this is disturbing.

A team of researchers based in three different institutions has developed a software that can record someone else's facial expressions, and plaster them onto your own face.

The video shows a source actor, who makes various facial expressions and mimes speaking, and a target actor, who remains motionless with their mouth closed. The software shows the target actor's face on the screen making the same expressions as the source actor, with their own features. The effect is profoundly bizarre.

The technology works even if the source and target actors are of different genders, have different builds, or are in differently-lit environments; and requires only a consumer-grade computer and camera.

Presented at SIGGRAPH in Asia last month, the researchers state the potential applications of their software early in the video. "Imagine multilingual videoconferencing where the face video of a participant could be altered to match the audio of a real-time translator," the voiceover says. "One could also impersonate the facial expressions of someone in more fitting business attire while actually dressed in casual clothing." I know a lot of people who will do anything to get out of wearing a suit, but this seems a little extreme.