Washington, Oct 28 : Online shopping can turn out to be more fun when you can try on new clothes on your own computerised image, all thanks to a new program that creates an accurate computerized image of a person's body even when the subject is clothed.
Developed by Brown computer scientists, the new technology could be put to use in fashion, film, forensics, sports medicine, and video gaming.
The program can accurately estimate the human body's shape from digital images or video.
"If you see a person wearing clothing, can the computer figure out what they look like underneath?" asked Michael Black, professor of the computer science at Brown.
Created by Black and graduate student Alexandru Balan, the new program is an advance from current body scanning technology, which requires people to stand still without clothing in order to produce a 3-D model of the body.
With the new 3-D body-shape model, the scientists can determine a person's gender and calculate an individual's waist size, chest size, height, weight and other features.
The program has wide-ranging potential applications-other than forensics and fashion, the research could also benefit the film industry.
The technology will do away with the need for actors to wear tight-fitting suits covered with reflective markers to have their motion captured, as it could capture both the actors' shape and motion.
In sports medicine, doctors would be able to use accurate, computerized models of athletes' bodies to better identify susceptibility to injury.
In the gaming world, instead of acting through a character, a camera could track the user, create a 3-D representation of that person's body and insert the user into the video game.
Brown University has filed two provisional patents covering the research and its potential commercial applications.
For developing this ground-breaking application, the researchers created a computerized body model from 2,400 detailed laser range scans of men and women in minimal clothing.
They found that by combining information from a person in multiple poses, the computer was able to infer the gender of the person and the 3-D body shape. They further refined the model by incorporating the computer's detection of skin in the images.
"As I move, my clothes become loose or tight on different parts of my body. Each pose gives different constraints on the underlying body shape, so while a person's body pose may change, his or her true shape remains the same. By analyzing the body in different poses, we can better guess that person's true shape," Black said.
However, the researchers stress the technique is not invasive-it does not use X-rays, nor does it actually see through clothing.
The software only makes an intelligent guess about the person's exact body shape.
Black and Balan debuted their findings this month at the European Conference on Computer Vision in Marseilles, France.