Software Adds Age To Photographs Of Faces - InformationWeek

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5/16/2006
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Software Adds Age To Photographs Of Faces

Government health officials in Scotland are offering software that allows people to see what they'll look like when they're 65.

In an attempt to draw interest in a survey on Scotland's aging population, government health officials are offering software that allows people to see what they will look like when they are 65.

The InfoScotland site visitors can upload photographs of their faces, list their birthdates, and provide e-mail addresses to receive an image transformed by wrinkles, bags, sags and age spots. The feature will run through June 5 to encourage people to think about their future and add their views to an executive effort on the Strategy for a Scotland with an Ageing Population.

"Scotland is changing and the population is becoming progressively older," Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said in a prepared statement. "As a society, we need to plan for that now, and a key part of that will be to think about how technology can improve people's lives. It's already changed the way we live and will no doubt change our future. So it's interesting today to see one technology which actually shows people what they could look like later in life."

Psychologists and computer scientists at the University of St. Andrews developed the aging software, which simulates aging by superimposing database images of faces in different age groups on top of each other. A university Web site also allows uploads and has several features on face transformation.

BBC reporter Louise Andrew, who tried the government service to see what she will look like in about 30 years, wrote that the results didn't look too bad, "although my skin looks like its been the victim of a particularly vicious chemical peel."

Mike Blair, an international rugby player, had his picture aged and said in a news announcement that he knows he won't be able to play sports forever.

"While the software is fun and you can see what you might look like in the future, it does have a serious point: what do we want Scotland to be like when we're older?"

The site does not ask for information about citizenship and it was not immediately clear whether the government would use its resources to satisfy the curiosity of foreign Web site visitors.

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