Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Augmented Reality Ventriloquism

Here we are with some more Faceball experiments! If you've been following along with our AR demos so far, then you've seen that Talking Dog Studios has been working on a series of web pages that use both marker-tracking and face-tracking technologies to grab the real-time image of your face and map it in various creative ways.

Starting with (pictured at left) and Alice in AR Land (at right), we showed you some of the startling effects that can be achieved with just face-tracking. Then, with Faceball 1, we added in the marker, which let you map your own face to a sphere. And with Faceball 2, we showed you how this could allow you to hold your head in your hands.

If you were wondering where we would take this next, take a look at Faceball demo 3:

This one shows you how it's possible to become other characters, like in our Alice in Wonderland page, except that the character is more convincingly part of the real world.

Where, you might be wondering, will we go after this? No need to wonder any longer, because we've gone ahead and created a finished application from these demos. The culmination of all our hard work and experimentation has come down to this one point:

AR ventriloquism.

That's right, you can create dialogues between yourself and your virtual self in much the same way that real ventriloquists do. Check out our coder Rene Dufour-Contreras, who wrote and performed this strangely existential piece about a guy realizing he's just a virtual head:

Notice that Rene's mouth is covered with a still image of his mouth when the dummy is talking and the dummy's mouth does not move when Rene is speaking. You can try this, and all the other faceball demos out at

This is just one application for this technology. By mapping a person's face in real time to a character in a game they are playing, or in a movie they are watching, you are creating a much more personal and engaging experience for them. Could your next project use this new innovation? Give it some thought and give us a call!


The Talking Dog AR team

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