Fujitsu Laboratories today announced the development of technology that uses a smartphone camera to measure skin condition. In particular, it can accurately gauge skin tone.
The conventional method for measuring the condition of facial skin involved visiting a cosmetics store, where experts used specialized devices to gauge skin tone and condition. Dramatic improvements in the performance of smartphones, however, have opened the possibility of users to analyze the condition of their skin at home using their smartphone cameras. The problem with this approach is that lighting conditions vary from home to home, potentially causing the appearance of the skin tone captured by the camera to differ from the user's actual skin tone.
To address this problem, Fujitsu Laboratories has created a reference color chart that enables users to accurately measure the color of their skin using a smartphone. The smartphone application also allows users to measure how noticeable skin blemishes or pores are (figure 2). As a result, users can easily determine the condition of their skin at home without visiting a cosmetics store. Moreover, companies selling skin care products can reach customers who don't visit stores by incorporating this technology into their online sites to use as a product recommendation tool to boost sales.
Even if the appearance of the skin tone captured by the camera differs from the user's actual skin tone due to variations in lighting conditions in each home, compensation technology was developed using the newly created color reference chart to accurately gauge the correct skin tone.
First, users place the chart against their skin and take a photograph using a smartphone (figure 3). The image of the skin also captures the chart's pattern of standard colors (figure 4), which are used to accurately gauge the color data. This enables the tone of the skin in the image to be accurately corrected using the color differentials between the skin and standard colors. In addition, the standard color pattern is arrayed in four quadrants, making it possible to accurately gauge the tone of the skin, even if there is variation in the colors due to the angle of the lighting, for example.
In order to gauge the color in the process described above, it is necessary to accurately capture the pattern of the standard colors within the chart. Fujitsu Laboratories developed technology that enables an edge of the standard color pattern to be extracted from the digital image, allowing the segmentation of each color within the pattern to be automatically extracted (figure 5). When the photograph is taken, even if hair or a finger partially obscures the standard color pattern within the chart, the segmentation of each color can be accurately extracted.
Fujitsu Laboratories plans to work on making this technology more user-friendly by simplifying the method of capturing the image. The technology is already undergoing field testing, and insights from the test results will be used to make further improvements, with the aim to commercialize the technology within fiscal 2012.
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$54 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials. For more information, please see: http://jp.fujitsu.com/labs/en.
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Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.
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Date: 07 May, 2012
City: Kawasaki, Japan
Company: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.
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