back to article Max Headroom style fake celebrity avatar plan seeks Kickfunding

A plan to create digitised people is less than a grand short of its $5K goal, and promising to create Max-Headroom-style characters from celebrities and personal friends, ready for early next year. Max Headroom, for the younger readers, was an electronic avatar created to present the "What I Want To Know" show and prevent anyone …

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What what what the!

"promising to create Max-Headroom-style characters from celebrities and personal friends, ready for early next year."

This is is is probably the best news of 2012/13. Why why why did it take ssssso long?

Finally an app-app-application to recreate old M-Ma-Max on your favorite digital de-device just for avereage people like you and... average people like you. Just think of a ggggeneration of digitally st-st-stuttering youngsters - I deserve an Oscar for for for this!

Max

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Thumb Up

Re: What what what the!

I thought Kryten did a passable Max impresonation at his leaving do.

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Meh

Re: What what what the!

But his blipverts need more work.

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Ru

Re: What what what the!

"This is is is probably the best news of 2012/13"

I'll say. Bludgeoning celebrities into unconsciousness before digitally recording their minds and selling the fleshy bits to an organ bank sounds positively humanitarian in its worthiness.

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Re: What what what the!

And do what with them? Put them in a café selling Pepsi to McFly?

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Keyword: fake.

Why would anyone care?

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Facepalm

Re: Keyword: fake.

Two words for you: "Second Life"

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Re: Keyword: fake.

There is no second life. You only have one. Make the most of it.

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FAIL

Re: Keyword: fake.

Tell those that think they have one once they log in there.

(which I don't)

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Law
Coat

Re: Keyword: fake.

Could be worse... they could spend all day on a tech-news website posting pointless comments all day.... oh wait. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keyword: fake.

I am suspicious of those who disparage the simulation known as SecondLife, or as some have taken to call it, sadville. Maybe on their 10 year old "state of the art" PC everything looks like a Max Headroom re-run. Or maybe it is just like the disembodied, and seriously fragmented, personality in a box that was Max, they can't get laid, even in a virtual world. I dunno, but there seems to be some pent up aggression there. Did your mum ask you when you are going to get a place of your own and move out of the basement or what?

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Anonymous Coward

Max Headroom was just digitally processed live footage of an actor wearing prosthetics. It even won a computer graphics award as this fooled the panel into thinking it was all computer generated too.

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given the dat and st\ate of tech at the time, the award could concievably have been for the 'lines on a rotating cube' background behind mr frewer

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Facepalm

Max Headroom was just Matt Frewer in latex?

Oh, man, I feel such a fool...

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Without solving the human-level AI problem?

Somehow I can't imagine a kickstarter solving a challenge that's had the best minds in computer science stumped for the last seventy-odd years. What they could do is feed facial recognition back into the model, to make an avatar puppet that mirrors the user's expression and speech (With shifted voice). Great for impersonations, call centers, low-budget CGI presenters on television shows (One actor, multible characters!) or just fun.

I've seen something similar mentioned in, of all the strange places, a My Little Pony fanfic 'Friendship is Optimal.' Such technology was mentioned there as part of a new hyper-social MMORPG to allow the avatars to match the expressions of the player, allowing for more natural conversation. With the technology perfected, that could be a very good use.

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Re: Without solving the human-level AI problem?

Everquest II has the facial recognition thing going on, actually. Of course, the problem is that unlike cartoon ponies, human face uses hundreds of muscles to express themselves and mapping them realistically to a seamless avatar is pretty complicated, let alone doing it in real time, with a camera without smoothing. But EQII still does it fine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG6GK6Oo58c

On the other hand you can check LA Noire for some very realistic face motion capture (that, of course, is also pretty uncanny valley-like):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBYlRD-Hk8k

(i haven't checked the links since I'm at work, but they should be fine)

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Re: Without solving the human-level AI problem?

Facial puppetry already exists, in real-time too.

http://machin-x.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/facial-puppetry-face-tracking-and.html

http://www.hao-li.com/publications/movies/siggraph2011video.mov

BTW I recommend browsing through the SIGGRAPH videos every August.

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Anonymous Coward

"solving a challenge that's had the best minds in computer science stumped"

Nonsense.

I can hold my side of a conversation with my wife using almost zero brain processing. Some vague attention to voice pitch and animatedness are enough to judge correct response --- an indignant "oh noes!", a grimace, raised eyebrow, or whatever. Conversation will rattle on for extended period of time, and I'm officially a good listener (which seems to mean, non-speaker).

AC for obvious reasons. Well, I guess dozens of women now suspect their partners wrote this.

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Re: Without solving the human-level AI problem?

I'd have thought the cartoony avatar (Pony or otherwise) would make is easier. With a human-realistic face you're going to hit uncanny valley easily every time. But humans are very good at seeing faces and expressions - the icon list for this post presents three distinct expressions, all drawn with just two dots and a line. So all you need to do is have a library of face elements pre-drawn (Different mouths, eyes, etc) and the ability to not mimic an expression, but reduce it to constituent elements - and then pick out the predawn cartoon face-parts accordingly. Very bandwidth-friendly, and no valley issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadder than Sadville

As per title.

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Coat

All I want to know is...

Where do I order my Dumbledore portrait?

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Anonymous Coward

So...

This just basically shows a different family/celeb picture depending on if you smile or frown? Wow, call the papers, what a scoop!

I love how the right marketing can turn the most basic and useless idea into the "AI of the future and virtual reality". I might set up a buzzer linked to a timer and pass it off as "virtual reality 6 sense development systems".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

Make sure you describe it as "revolutionary".

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Devil

Re: So...

... and "on a mobile device"

(which is Applespeak for "we can't think of anything really innovative with this, so we'll tack on our hallmark phrase")

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Better idea

Fund a Kickstarter to get Max Headroom put on DVD.

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Re: Better idea

+1 - My copy is very VHS-like in quality.

20 Minutes into the future <- what torrents are for....arrr.

-Edison bloody Carter.

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Re: Better idea

or were you referring to the spin-off music show?

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Go

Re: Better idea

To be fair, the originals were pretty VHS-like in quality too.

I watched them not long ago; the pilot is still fresh and original and if you haven't seen it it's well worth checking out, but the actual series feels like it's got way too much filler in it.

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Love the sound track!

I guess Sang and Milica can be forgiven for their less than perfect non-native English but the drum beat reminds me of my own far from perfect attempts. But maybe it's just a carefully concealed tribute to Dave Brubeck?

This is wasted at targeting just a few thousand dollars. The lads from Lagos do it so much better! Crowdfunding is ripe for scamming.

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jai
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i'd rather brough back real Max Headroom!

Hi! This is Max-Max Headroom on Network 23, brought-brought-brought to you by...

Oh, NO, no no-no-no-no! I'm sorry. I'm sorry, but if they think I'm endorsing car accessories, they've got another dipstick-stick coming. No-No, they've tried this one before and I'm radial tired of it! If they expect me to change gear now and start spark-spark-spark plugging their products, they must be out of their pist-pist-piston heads! Listen, I don't like to blow my own gasket, but I have better things to do than just sit here and wax polish lyrical about car parts! Car parts! I've got letters from fan belts who say, "Max, you're special! You're unique! You're differential!" Yes, yes I know it's what they want, that's because they're air conditioned to it - to it. Oh - to it. Oh, I've fendered it off time and timing belt again. I mean, who's calling the tune-tune-tune up? Who's in cru-cru-cru-cru-cruise control here, anyway? I'll tell ya who! Me! Me! Max Headlamp! And if they don't like it, they can stick-stick-stick shift it in their exhaust pipes and choke-choke it! AND smoke it!

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Anonymous Coward

Kryton, Unpack Rachael...

So *thats* what flexible displays are for! Time to invest in manufacturers of puncture repair kits methinks...

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Happy

Good Job!

El Reg needs to work Max Headroom references into articles more often.

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