In our busy lives, time is of the essence and getting the message across in the shortest possible time makes a lot of difference. When we are communicating by mobile or instant messaging, it is customary to use a cute emoticon to express how we feel.

:)  happy

:(  sad

=/ worried

😛 joking

But we must have come a long way since the days of character faces. A technology company called Mach-3D™ has been working on an app called 3DoM™.

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3DoM™ is an Android mobile app that allows you to take a picture of your face or another 2 dimensional face and convert it into an interactive 3 dimensional face with various expressions, called a Living Portrait.

After taking your picture, it scans your facial features to detect all the key points such as your eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows. After processing your features, your face will be added to the library. Click on your picture and automatically your face starts to express happiness, sadness, confusion and excitement. At any time, you can also select an expression for the face to make.

The technology is really quite amazing, turning a simple 2D picture into a 3D picture that moves and expresses itself. I tested it on myself to see how it works. I was impressed especially by the open mouth face because although the picture I took of myself was with a closed mouth, it was able to detect the shape of my mouth and add fake teeth when my mouth opened. I also showed it to some people in my office and they all thought it was fun and cool to play with.

In terms of application, the obvious thing to use it for is when you are chatting online. Instead of using a cartoon emoticon, you can now use your real face to communicate with your friends. Perhaps when 3DoM become really advanced, your friends might not even be able to tell the difference between you and your Living Portrait.

Mach 3D Creative Director, Harold Verhagen (@HaroldVerh) says that Living Portraits will be able to react to each other to make communication more real. For more business related applications, Living Portraits can be used for brand interaction, such as trying on augmented reality glasses, make up, hair and jewellery. Clearly, the use cases are vast. Advertising, e-shopping and gaming are simple examples of how to use your real face more in every day online experiences.

The team recently won the European Venture Contest Semi-Final in Luxembourg.

The app is not yet launched but is currently in closed beta. They are still sorting out some legal stuff, so unfortunately you can’t download it yet, but look out for it when it’s released!