Category: Gadgets

In gadgets, we cover coolest gizmos & mobile devices including gaming and iPhone accessories, exotic watches and all other computer peripherals that geeks love

Watch AyaBambi Distort Reality In This Unreal Face-Hacking Video

“Nice face. I’d like to wear it sometime.” No, it’s not a Valentine’s Day card from Buffalo Bill. But it might be an icebreaker in 2020.

If you’ve had a bad face day, you can usually keep up appearances on social media thanks to the magical filters of Snapchat and Instagram. If you’re having a really bad case of the fugs, you can just face-swap yourself with your favorite movie star and call it quits. That’s all well and good from the privacy and solitude of your own bed, but when it comes to heading out into the real world, the closest thing to a real-life filter was a good concealer.

But now, thanks to an innovative dream team from Tokyo, IRL Snapchat filters are real. Sort of.

From Haunted Rides To Kat Von D

Projection mapping at Disneyland, 1969

Projection mapping at Disneyland, 1969 | Source

The practice has moonlighted under a few aliases, including “spatial augmented reality” and gruesome-sounding “face-hacking.” But it’s commonly known as projection mapping. In short, the practice involves projecting an image onto a non-flat surface. The earliest adopter of projection mapping was none other than Disney, which first used projection mapping at the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland way back in 1969. It’s been used on-and-off since then with limited success. But the capabilities of projection mapping have always been pretty basic … up until now.

WOW labs, helmed by CGI-expert Nobumichi Asai, has been working on an advanced method of projection mapping for the last few years.

So, what is it?

Asai’s projection mapping uses specialized software to track a surface in motion, while a custom-built projector alters the image to adjust to the subject’s movements. The results are a seamless and high-definition projection that works in tandem with the face. For instance, say you wanted to project a zombie mask onto a model. If the model moved, the mask would move with them — without distorting or losing quality. It gives the appearance of a CGI effect in real life.

In 2015, Kat Von D used projection mapping software to promote her new collection of makeup at Sephora. The projection mapping used was 240 frames per second (fps).

The latest production from Asai uses a projector that uses 1,000 fps — the fastest in the world. The results speak for themselves:

WOW studios partnered with the University of Tokyo and TOKYO production studios to create the stunning performance video, which clocks in at just over a minute long.

In order to accommodate Asai’s CGI technology, the DynaFlash projector was custom-built by the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory at the University of Tokyo. This 8-bit, 1000 fps projector uses state-of-the art technology to keep up with the movements of the human body. Check out this side-by-side comparison between a standard projector and the DynaFlash.

WOW, TOKYO, and the creators of DynaFlash collaborated with iconic dance duo, AyaBambi, to create this stunning video performance, which shows off the capabilities of face hacking software. It’s unreal.

 

The Uncertain Future Of Face Hacking

Morphing your face into something straight out of Samara Morgan’s home movie collection might be fun for now, but the possibilities of face hacking are electrifying.

As tech continues to get smaller and more portable, it’s easy to imagine projection mapping software being added to a wearable tech device. Magic Leap might fill up your local watering hole with mythical creatures, but face hacking could turn every habitué into Harrison Ford or Marilyn Monroe.

We’re already beginning to explore the ethical implications of “face borrowing.”

Rogue One presented us with Grand Moff Tarkin, even though actor Peter Cushing died in 1994. It also gave us a fresh-faced Carrie Fisher, although CGI isn’t advanced enough yet to defer the effects of “uncanny valley” — the tendency for the human eye to reject almost-human replicas.

But if we could switch up our faces as easily as we can change our Snapchat filters, will we have to license our own looks to stop copycats from borrowing our features? And is it okay to borrow someone’s face, especially if they’re dead?

Non-celebrities don’t often think about things like licensing your looks, but our faces are being collected every day through mediums like Snapchat and Facebook. In the user terms of Snapchat, it writes that is has:

“Worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display” any content you upload to the app, “in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”

American property law dictates that your likeness can’t be used without your consent. But thanks to the murky ‘tap here’ terms and conditions of companies like Snapchat, you’ve probably already given your consent. Imagine your surprise if one day you walked into a bar, to find someone else wearing your face. Or — if you want to take the Black Mirror approach to it — the face of your dead relative.

Snapchat’s faceswap filter | Source

By sticking to shadowy constellations and embracing eerie distortions, AyaBambi’s performance avoids deep philosophical questions such as those, while providing a mesmerizing example of how projection mapping can be used. At the moment, the technology has both feet firmly planted in the art world. But it raises a myriad of interesting questions about what will happen when technology allows us to change our appearance with the ease of a Snapchat filter.

Three wrong ways to choose an awesome geeky gift

Today with vast availability of fan stores from all kinds of fandoms, people believe it’s easy to choose a gift for a geek. Just get the guy another Harley Quinn figurine to gather dust on the shelves, right? Wrong! Geeks don’t care about mainstream pop culture. They only care for what’s close to their heart. That’s why Suicide Squad and Superman movies are getting all the criticism. That’s why nobody wants an average, thoughtless, mediocre present. It is time for a geek to speak up for one’s needs by pointing out some of the most common mistakes others make while choosing geeky presents only a wannabe YouTube nerd-streamer with 37 views will enjoy. Read More…

This PC Desk packs loads of hardware for hungry gamers

PC Desk case mod

PC mods are cool and making a custom designed PC case is interesting and worth the effort. For that very reason DIY’ers invest a lot of time in building unique case mods. This one though is in a league of its own for its sheer design niche. In fact it is shaped like a desk which has loads of cabinets to house all your fancy, powerful hardware. The DIY desk is work of [Crafted Workshop] who call it desk PC which is true to its name and function.
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Why ‘PC Gaming’ is better than ‘Console Gaming’

PC gaming vs console gaming 22

Recent years have seen the number of handheld console enthusiasts rise exponentially, thanks to cutting edge innovation in the industry. Despite competition from Microsoft’s Xbox line, Sony’s PlayStation 4 stood its ground in 2016 to again become the year’s most sought after electronic device made exclusively for gaming. And now with the release of the PlayStation Pro, things are expected to get even better for the company.
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‘Swiss Mad’ watch made from cheese is one-of-a-kind dairy design

H.-Moser-Cie-Mad-Swiss-Cheese-Watch

Till date, we have seen many niche watches that grab attention either due to their functionality or the way they look. But his is for the first time we came across a luxury watch that’s made from 100-percent cheese. Yes, you read that right. Luxury watchmaker H. Moser & Cie has recently unveiled its one-of-a-kind ‘Swiss Mad’ watch that’s made with genuine local winter cheese. Read More…

Blitab braille tablet for visually-impaired will soon be in your hands

Blitab braille tablet

Blitab Technology, an Austrian startup has been working for quite some time on its innovative tablet for the blind which is more of a modern braille. In fact it is the perfect combination of a tablet and braille which aims to make life easier for the visually impaired. After showing off their initial iteration of the Blitab quite a few months ago, the team at Blitab has come up with a better version.
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Gun disguised as an iPhone alarms authorities worldwide

Ideal Conceal Pistol_1

There are numerous cases for smartphones that make them look like completely unrelated props. For example, smartphone case that looks like a gun. But if there is a gun which looks like a smartphone, then that is a serious security issue. Last year we came across Ideal Conceal .380 caliber pistol which with the push of a button turns into a fatal weapon. That very gun has now stirred up authorities in America as the gun is going to be on sale in US next week.
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This Apple Watch stand transforms your smartwatch into a Mac

 

Elago W3 Apple Watch stand

Apple Watch has been a sad gadget of late. To give it a slight memory refresh, Elago is selling an Apple Watch Stand that will make the watch look like a Mac from yesteryears. The stand dubbed Elago W3 is compatible with all Apple Watch 1 and 2 variants including the Sport and Edition. The stand is a simple device designed to allow you to charge your smartwatch. It comes with night stand mode and can be placed close to the bed to use functions such as alarm, reminders or occasion messaging. Read More…

AMD’s VR-ready CyberPowerPC gaming PC comes with Oculus Rift for $499

 

AMD CyberPowerPC

Virtual reality gaming rigs are increasing in numbers. The technology is reasonably expensive at the moment with desktops costing upwards of $1,000. AMD is slated to change that cost phenomenon, and for this has introduced CyberPowerPC – an Oculus Rift headset ready Gamer Ultra VR desktop that is priced at $499.99. There’s a catch here – the desktop will sell for sub $500 tag in a bundle with an Oculus Rift headset, which alone costs at $599.99. The total cost of the system would therefore be $1099.98. Read More…

Nokia marks its presence in Android world with Nokia 6

nokia-6

Nokia 6 has been the much-anticipated Android phone in 2017. With this new smartphone, Nokia is marking its presence in the Android world – the same platform that was once the reason for its downfall. However, the latest smartphone is based on Android 7.0, and also the first Nokia Android phone from HMD Global, the company that bought the Nokia brand licensing rights in late 2016. Read More…