Researchers have used Kinect to inject a natural part of face-to-face conversation into video calling: eye contact. Using the Kinect's facial-recognition technology and some specially developed software, the team is able to make it appear callers are looking directly at their conversational counterpart. Essentially, Kinect determines where a caller is looking, and modifies the angle of a their face to make things seem more natural.
More than simply skewing the entire image, the team's software separates the person from their background, adjusts the angle, and then pastes the new image back into the frame in realtime. By maintaining the angle of the background, the adjusted face looks more natural and the image keeps its depth. "We want to make a real video conferencing meetings as similar as possible," says Claudia Kuster, a PhD student at the Laboratory for Computer Graphics ETH Zurich. Kuster and her colleagues want to develop their software further, targeting devices with conventional webcams like smartphones, and also hope and to develop a Skype plugin.