The technology uses sophisticated imaging algorithms and mobile networking to match colors that complement one another. Besides cosmetic retailers, HP is hoping companies requiring a high level of color or image coordination will find a use for the technology.
The way the technology would work for a cosmetics shopper, a person would use a mobile phone camera to take his picture while holding a specially designed color chart. The photo would then be sent from the phone as a multimedia message (MMS) to an automated advisory service.
That system would locate the person's face within the image and color correct the image for camera and lighting discrepancies. Skin pixels would then be extracted from the corrected image, and compared to a database of previously analyzed images of skin tones of real people. In a matter of seconds, the person using the service would receive a text message response with a recommendation on the shades of makeup best suited for their skin coloring, HP said.
"For those who shop for cosmetics, this technology gives them a virtual beauty consultant in the palm of their hands," Nina Bhatti, principal scientist for HP's Digital Imaging and Printing Lab, said in a statement released Wednesday.
HP is looking to partner with retailers and consumer goods companies interested in using the technology. Companies interested in making a deal can get more information at the Web site for HP's intellectual property licensing program.