New Mobile Imaging Technology Provides Consumers with Expert Advice via Cell Phone Anytime, Anywhere
HP (NYSE:HPQ) today demonstrated a new color matching technology that could change the way people shop for products that require color coordination, such as cosmetics.
HP Labs, the company’s central research arm, has developed a technology that uses sophisticated imaging algorithms and mobile networking to match colors that complement one another, including makeup specific to skin coloring.
Retailers, consumer goods and other companies that require a high level of color or image coordination could implement the technology to offer services that help their customers select the right products for their needs.
The color matching technology, which is currently in prototype, builds on HP’s expertise in imaging, color science, mobility and networking.
How it works
Instead of sitting down with a consultant at a beauty counter, a shopper photographs herself using a mobile phone camera and while holding a specially designed color chart. The person then sends the photo as an MMS (multimedia message) to an advisory service. That system locates the person’s face within the image and color corrects the image for camera and lighting discrepancies.
Skin pixels are extracted from the color corrected image of the person’s face, and then compared to an existing database of previously captured and analyzed images of skin tones of real people. In a matter of seconds, people using the service receive a text message response with a recommendation on the shades of makeup that are best suited to their complexion.
The technology can work with any mobile operator and on any mobile phone equipped with a camera.
“HP’s color matching technology provides retailers and consumer goods companies with a new, fun way to interact with customers and promote their products,” said Nina Bhatti, principal scientist, Digital Imaging and Printing Lab, HP Labs. “For those who shop for cosmetics, this technology gives them a virtual beauty consultant in the palm of their hands.”
HP is actively seeking to partner with retailers and consumer goods companies to make the technology available to consumers. Beyond retail, the technology has applications for other industries such as healthcare, where it can help companies reach people where and when they need assistance. Companies interested in pursuing a relationship can find out more about HP’s intellectual property licensing program at http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/abouthp/iplicensing/.
“Mobile color match technology is potentially a very important innovation,” said Crawford Del Prete, senior vice president, IDC. “As it is applied to different scenarios, it will give customers the ability to accomplish tasks that before were left to guesswork or were simply not possible without experts. This has historically been very important for early stage innovations to gain acceptance in new markets.”
Photos demonstrating the color matching technology are available at http://www.hpl.hp.com/about/media/mobile_image/.
HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers – from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world’s largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $97.1 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2007. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.