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Nvidia unveils the next generation of video conferencing

Video conferencing
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GPU manufacturer Nvidia has released a demo for a new AI system that can create a video conferencing (opens in new tab) feed from a single still image.

Announced in December 2020, Vid2Vid Cameo is a deep learning model built on a dataset of 180,000 videos. It uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to animate 2D images using live video input and can also reorient the video subject so the person appears to be speaking directly into the camera.

The system requires two inputs: a source image (which can be a real photo or an avatar) and a live webcam (opens in new tab) feed. During a video call, Vid2Vid Cameo maps the person’s motions and expressions onto the image provided.

As Nvidia explains in a blog post (opens in new tab), this means someone could feasibly attend an important meeting in pajamas and with hair like a bird’s nest, and yet appear to be wearing “work-appropriate” attire.

AI-powered video conferencing 

According to Nvidia, Vid2Vid Cameo will also help address one of the most frustrating issues people have faced during the pandemic: choppy and low-resolution video feeds.

Although the grand remote working (opens in new tab) experiment has largely been chalked up as a success, issues such as these have detracted from the ability to communicate as effectively as in-person.

However, Vid2Vid Cameo utilizes video compression techniques to drastically reduce the bandwidth requirements, which should mean meetings are able to run smoothly irrespective of connection quality.

Under this system, instead of sending large video streams between participants, only audio data and information relating to facial movement needs to be sent across. This data is then synthesized into a video on the receiver’s side.

“Many people have limited internet bandwidth, but still want to have a smooth video call with friends and family,” said Ming-Yu Liu, a researcher at Nvidia and co-author of the project.

And it’s not just remote workers who will benefit; Liu says the technology could have an impact on a number of creative industries too, such as animation, photo-editing (opens in new tab) and games development.

Vid2Vid Cameo capabilities will soon be packaged with the Nvidia Maxine SDK, a free platform that helps developers optimize video and live streaming feeds using a series of AI models.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.