A new augmented-reality solution can manipulate the world of live footage in a photorealistic manner, while selectively changing colors, surfaces or textures.
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science are heralding a quantum leap for augmented reality applications: Instead of superimposing the original digital image with visual information, researchers from Saarland modify it realistically. An impressive demonstration video shows what this looks like in practice: For example, although a young woman is wearing a red T-shirt in front of a webcam, it appears blue on the screen. The intervention is hardly visible to the human eye. Prof. Dr. Christian Theobalt, head of the research group at the MPI, explains the theory: "The color value that a camera assigns individual pixels during the recording is, put simply, always the product of reflection and lighting." The two components are nevertheless only indirectly included in the image and thus not measurable. The software very quickly estimates both factors for each individual pixel and finally modifies one of them. Researchers see possible applications among other things in the computer game and fashion industry.
One can only hope that the warning formulated by Deutsche Bank in their AR Sector Report from 2015, falls on sympathetic ears. "Achievements in basic research in the field of augmented reality have rarely resulted in economic success in Germany to date," warned the experts at the time. Although Germany is recognized throughout the world as a research location, it is "often much too careless" when it comes to the subsequent economic implementation of innovations.