Does Face-Mapping Have a Home in Plastic Surgery?

Posted on October 20, 2014 | by

A recent video has been making its rounds and awing viewers with what is being dubbed “electronic makeup.” Producer Nobumichi Asai and a team of CGI experts, makeup artists, and digital designers used projection mapping technology to project photorealistic graphics onto a model’s moving face. The result? Real-time projections of traditional makeup, geometric patterns, and futuristic face masks that move seamlessly with the model.

The shape and contours of the model’s face were mapped after an initial scan, allowing the projection to follow her movement and retain precise placement on her face. After the scan, graphics were overlaid and adjusted in real-time to produce an eerily-realistic makeup application that responds to head movement, changes in facial features, and the opening and closing of her eyes.

Although the results are fascinating, many are wondering if there are any real world applications. For us, the question of how this technology could be used to help our patients is at the forefront.

Previewing plastic surgery results isn’t a new arena. 3D simulation technology for cosmetic surgery graces many consultation rooms, allowing patients a sneak peek at their potential breast augmentation or facial surgery results. From trying breast implants on for size to seeing how facial treatments can change your appearance, this technology has become an invaluable tool in the process of designing plastic surgery treatment plans that are tailored to an individual’s anatomy.

But where is it going next? With Asai’s groundbreaking face mapping, is there potential for a medical application? We like to think so. Once the technology is honed, perhaps surgeons can use it to show patients what their results may look like, all in real time. Imagine going to a surgeon’s office to discuss options for reducing signs of aging and being able to see the possible results of a facelift projected onto your own face. This technology could allow patients to see results as they move their facial muscles, enabling them to witness how surgery will change their appearance.

We might not be there yet, but it’s exciting to think of the possibilities. The plastic surgery field is changing daily thanks to newly emerging technology, and no one knows where it may be heading.

What technology would you like to see at your surgeon’s office in the future?