It’s been more than a year since we last caught up with Vizago, the Swiss startup that’s developed technology to create a 3D model of your head from a flat 2D picture.
At the time, the main public-facing side of the company was more or less a demo – a show of technology – through Chrome and Firefox. But as we noted, the underlying algorithms could be put to a multitude of uses, from gaming to virtual fitting rooms. Indeed, one of the first deals Vizago was able to discuss at the time was with virtual fitting room provider Metail, which was using the technology on UK retailer Tesco’s clothing Facebook Page.
So. Much. Tech.
Some of the biggest names in tech are coming to TNW Conference in Amsterdam this May.
Now, however, Vizago has launched a couple of apps that put its technology to practical use – by helping you find the perfect hairstyle.
NewDo and NewDo Men for iPhone gives you a preview of what you’ll look like with, well, a new ‘do’, shaped and adapted to your face’s shape and color. The women-focused incarnation has 73 styles, while the one for chaps has 44.
How it works
First up, how you take the photo is imperative – within the app you line up the little circle with your head and make sure there are no shadows on your face. It also should be a full frontal shot with both ears showing, your mouth closed (no smiling), and remove hair from the facial area.
Take the photo, and then tell the app exactly where your eyes, nose, mouth, chin and ears are – though it actually does a good job of detecting this automatically. Just a few tweaks were needed here. Click Okay, wait a minute for your face to be rendered, and then you’ll be able to see some styles for free.
There are four styles available out of the box, and from my tests it was okay…but it did seem to puff my face to match the hairstyle. Or, perhaps more accurately, the 3D rendering was a bit off and didn’t quite gauge the perimeters of my face well enough and thus used that same mis-read for all the styles. But it was largely quite good. (Though my face isn’t really that fat, got it?)
Yes, this is only as good as the quality of the photo. I believed the lighting was adequate for this photo, but I suspect that perhaps a proper, fully-lit passport-style photograph from a booth would work best here. Either way, this is a challenge – ensuring the end-user takes the absolute best photo, adhering to the guidelines set out in the app. Even then, things may not be 100% excellent.
However, the underlying technology is sound, and it’s clear that such services do have legs – be it for trying on clothes before you buy online or, indeed, seeing what you would look like sporting a Mohican.
You get 130 coins automatically to ‘spend’ on additional styles, which typically cost around 99 coins. Once they’ve run out, you can spend anything up to ten bucks for 10,000 coins to unlock 100 hairstyles. This seems excessive, given that there is supposedly only 43 within the ‘men’s’ app at the time of writing, but this can grow, if you’ll pardon the pun.
There are, of course, other apps out there that proclaim to do something similar – but they generally don’t adjust things to suit to your head and face. They’ll just superimpose hair onto you.
NewDo does what it says it does, but the real challenge Vizago faces is getting the end-user to take the absolute best-quality photo to ensure this 3D tech can shine.
Feature Image Credit – Shutterstock