Written by IainB
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Saturday, 9 June 2012

image for Celebrity look-a-like? There's an app for that
Daphne looks a lot like Julia Roberts, apparently.

Have people said you look like Stephen Merchant? Dr Phil Hammond? Or less polite, have they said you look like one of the heroin addicts from Trainspotting? Now it is possible to reciprocate, and find the celebrity that people look most like using the iAmFamous app from San Antonio applelet company, App It.

"This is a rather good, frivolous app," said App World! editor, Mac Buck. "But despite its frivolous nature, the science behind it is remarkable."

The camera on the iPhone is pointed at a person, getting a good image of their face. Facial recognition software then kicks in and scans publicly available photographs on the internet.

"I pointed it at myself, obviously," said Buck. "It turns out, I bear more than a passing resemblance to John Belushi. I'm not altogether happy with that, but hey ho."

There are a couple of clever twists to technology in the applelet. Firstly, ordinary facial recognition software only finds fairly close matches, whereas the iAmFamous applelet will widen these parameters, and allow the nose to be different, or the hairstyle, but not too many so that Claudia Schiffer is returned when pointing it at the pet cat. Secondly, celebrity status doesn't need to be identified for any particular photograph.

"Rather cleverly," said Buck, "the app uses facial recognition to group pictures of celebrities into which celebrity they are. For instance, if it finds three hundred pictures of one woman, you can be pretty certain she is a celebrity. If there is a passing resemblance, the closest picture match to the face you took is returned."

The applelet can also be used as a pick-up device.

"I tried this in Cheeze Wheeze," said Buck. "There was a pretty girl in the queue. I put her face through the app, and it came up saying she looked a lot like Uma Thurman. I said hi to her and commented how much she looked like Uma Thurman, my favourite actress. It was quite good. Normally, I either get blanked or told to leave quickly. I actually got a smile this time, and a thank you. Unfortunately, she didn't want to go on a date, but at least I didn't have a restraining order put on me."

Buck used the app on the members of the App World! team.

"Daphne, our researcher, looks like a young Julia Roberts," said Buck. "Whilst her husband, Ed, looks like a grand piano. I think the app may be flawed slightly. Other than that, I can wholeheartedly recommend this app to wile away a few hours."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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