HP has demonstrated a new colour matching technology that could change the way people shop for products that require colour 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 colours that complement one another, including makeup specific to skin colouring.
Retailers, consumer goods and other companies that require a high level of colour or image coordination could implement the technology to offer services that help their customers select the right products for their needs.
The colour matching technology, which is currently in prototype, builds on HP’s expertise in imaging, color science, mobility and networking.
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 colour 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 colour corrects the image for camera and lighting discrepancies.
Skin pixels are extracted from the colour corrected image of the person’s face, and then compared to an existing database of previously captured and analysed 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 is actively seeking to partner with retailers and consumer goods companies to make the technology available to consumers.