New software lets you see how your child will look as they get older

It’s a guessing game parents like to ponder: What will my child look like when she grows up? A computer could now answer the question in less than a minute. University of Washington researchers have developed software that automatically generates images of a young child’s face as it ages through a lifetime. The technique is the first fully automated approach for aging babies to adults that works with variable lighting, expressions and poses.

New software developed by computer scientists at the University of Washington is designed to take an image of a young child’s face and in about half a minute, project how the person will look up to the age of 80. Such digital image processing technology might seem like just a fun game, but it has serious applications, such as helping law enforcement find missing children years later. This particular software project, funded by Google and Intel, has tapped into thousands of photos of children and adults via an Internet search to gain knowledge about how faces age (based on pixel arrangement) regardless of the lighting, expressions and poses seen in the original photograph. An algorithm makes sense of that information and applies it to a new subject’s photo to determine how the person in the picture would age, figuring in changes such as nose growth and eye narrowing. The software runs on standard computing hardware.

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