Blinking in a photo usually means that you would have to discard it, but new technology by Facebook could mean that you might be able to salvage that photo.
What Did Facebook Engineers Develop?
Facebook announced that some engineers developed a new way to open eyes that were previously closed in a photo. Using artificial intelligence, Facebook can generate imagery to correct these photos. After all, the majority of photos posted to the social network have people in it.
Facebook published the study on its website on June 18.
To correct the photo, engineers used General Adversarial Networks (GAN), which is a machine-learning algorithm with two visual networks competing against each other. This AI technology learns what a specific person's eyes look like and recreates them. It is the same technology used to create other fake images and videos posted online.
The system relies on "exemplar" data to show the AI what the other person's eyes look like in images where that person is not blinking. It remembers all the features of those eyes, including shape and color. It then fills in those eyes in images where the person blinks.
Other Tech Companies With Similar Software
Although there are other types of software that can fix red eye or other mistakes in a photo, there really isn't a strong example of technology that fixes blinking. Other tech companies, such as Adobe and Pixelmator, are developing their own technology, but it is not as advanced as Facebook's technology.
In the study, Facebook compared its AI to Adobe's program, and there is a striking difference between how both tech companies fix blinking in photos. The Adobe photos left a strange mark around a person's eyes, and the Facebook photos looked more flawless.
Future Challenges Of This AI Technology
Despite the remarkable technology, Facebook's AI is far from perfect. The AI cannot fix images where the user has glasses on or if there are extreme angles in the photo. Although Facebook is still researching the technology, it has not announced when — if ever — it will release the feature to users. Facebook is already using facial-recognition software that matches and tags you in photos.
There is also the ethical question about whether or not it is acceptable to create fake eyes in a photograph. Even if those eyes were based on the real thing, it is still a controversial subject.