Video calls can be awkward because you do not look at the camera while talking. Some devices and software, such as Microsoft̵7;s Surface Pro X and Apple’s Facetime, can adjust your eyes to look like they’re staring into the camera. But NVIDIA wants to go a step further and adjust your entire face, or perhaps replace it with a digital avatar.
When you join a video call, you are probably looking at the screen to see the people in your meeting. They probably do the same thing, and so video calls tend to lack some form of eye contact. Some companies have experimented with software to fix the problem through subtle adjustments of eye positioning.
When you look at the screen, the software changes your eyes to “look at the camera.” It looks like you are looking at the people in your meeting. But with large monitors and webcams, it does not work so well because you may have your face angled wrong. You can look left or down.
This is where NVIDIA’s MAXINE artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. It can change the angle of the head so that you appear facing the camera. You will be better suited, and the result should be something more natural.
In addition, Maxine can scale up video from 360p to 720p with low resolution, so that everyone gets a clearer picture of you. And if you’d rather have someone see you at all, you can replace yourself with a digital avatar.
NVIDIA demonstrated the concept by replacing a human with a digital alien. Maxine also promises better compression to save bandwidth, something useful for anyone with spotty internet. AI can also help with virtual backgrounds, noise reduction and more.
Unfortunately, Maxine is not just software that you can download. NVIDIA opens AI for developers to integrate into software. It may take a while before we see someone use it. That may be the best thing; as impressive as the demonstrations still stretch to some extent in the incredible valley.