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HP takes the guesswork out of matching colors

HP has shown a color matching technology that could change the way you shop for products that require matching colors, e.g. when buying cosmetics. Instead of sitting down with a consultant at a beauty counter, you take a photo of yourself using your mobile phone camera while holding a specially designed color chart. You then send the image as an MMS (multimedia message) to an advisory service. The system will locate your face within the image and color corrects the image for camera and lighting discrepancies...

PRESS SUMMARY

Visit HP's Color-matching technology websiteNew mobile imaging technology provides consumers with expert advice via cell phone anytime, anywhere

HP 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 HP's Color Matching technology 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 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.”

Additional information: Visit HP's Color-matching technology website
July 13, 2007
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