Prince George may only be a toddler, but there's just something about seeing an actual, real life prince all grown up that tugs at everyone's heartstrings. Luckily, scientists say that with the help of computer generators, they can create an image of what Prince George may look like as an adult. The software in question takes a number of specific facial features and combines them with visual cues from the parents as well as other relatives. In effect, this creates an image of an individual's likely future appearance. The scientists over at the University of Bradford also note that it's nothing like the "aging" software that already exists (it essentially just adds lines, wrinkles and discolorations to your face to generate a possible future image). This is actually far more sophisticated.
The research was led by Hassan Ugail, the University's Professor of Visual Computing. He explained that they used an algorithm to determine which traits the child may have inherited from his parents, in an effort to make the projection as realistic as possible. He said that the software is "trained" to be more accurate as more layers of data (and DNA) are added.
"We take specific facial features. Very simple things like nose length is quite unique for that person, so we look at nose length, the width of the nose, the distance between eyes. So these are facial features that the computer recognizes as the person. So we take these — roughly 30 to 40 facial features we take from the face — and we use these facial features; we map it into the machine and then we produce the age," he told Reuters. "So what we've done in the case of George, we've taken his picture and then we've actually taken facial features and then aged him. We've also, in some experiments, what we've done is we've taken the parental information and then also applied the parental information and aged him as well."
We'll have to wait a few years to see how accurate the predictions are, though Ugail seems very confident: "We make sure for a given picture, for a given image, that it actually passes a face recognition test. So what it means, is like if I were to age you from where you are now to, say, ten years ahead; we'd take your current picture, your current facial features and we'll pass it through a face recognition test. And then we also make sure that our predicted picture also passes through a face recognition test," he concluded.
The team has also been said to be working on an app as well... so maybe we can test it on our baby photos and see if it works? Only time will tell.