I had the chance to meet with Hao Li during Vivid Sydney last month, on the future of digital characters. He’s currently professor at the University of Southern California, in the department of computer science. He received the title of ” 2013 Innovator Under 35″ by the prestigious MIT.

Hao Li is a pioneer of the next generation imaging systems and state-of-the-art 3D capture techniques. His mantra “Inventing smarter animation that bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds”

Watch his work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJbSsoPDWUU

Hao presented a live demonstration of a cutting-edge real-time facial animation system he developed while at Industrial Light & Magic, based on a low cost level depth sensor. The system learns personalized facial expressions on-the-fly without the need of a tedious training process. Real-time 3D depth sensing, performance capture in visual effects technology developed primarily for the film and gaming industry has the potential to impact the fidelity of emotions analysis, improve surveillance and monitoring systems, and streamline the data analysis process.

With the democratization of 3D depth sensors such as Microsoft’s Kinect, these systems are no longer prototype technologies from research labs or visual effects studios, but are available to everyone. They will play a key role for future consumer-level products innovating human-computer interfaces and 3D communication.

Hao Li suggests the challenges ahead when it comes to real-time 3D digitization of humans, and the product possibilities that lie over that horizon: including personalized applications ranging from interactive gaming to human-computer interfaces, 3D communication, more efficient delivery of medical treatment and more precise distributed manufacturing.

In Korea, Snickers launched the ‘ You are not you when you are hungry’ campaign 3 years ago. Koreans have witnessed how Snickers could transform celebrities such as Kara and Sistar, renowned k-pop stars.

This December, Snickers tried to expand transforming experience to consumers at the university in Seoul. And Hao Li, led the technology development by using real time animation with facial tracking to create magical experiences.

Syncing with consumers facial expression and real time animation was a challenge, but it was successful in creating unforgettable experience to consumers and helped them understand the brand message ‘You are not you when you are hungry’ on the spot. Hi 5, it looks great !

View the video here (also featured at the top of this post). 

Agency: Innored Seoul
Source: Vidid Sydney, About Hao Li

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