As we proved beyond all doubt during the pandemic, video calls are a poor substitute for actually seeing people in person. But one of the big issues is that webcams aren’t in the middle of screens, so whoever you’re talking to always appears to be zoning out, even when they’re not completely bored by what you’re saying.
Now Nvidia has come up with an answer to this (admittedly not that important) problem with the latest version of its Broadcast software, which plugs into the likes of Skype, Twitch, Discord and Zoom. In real time, the software adjusts the video feed, making it appear that you’re looking directly at the camera even when you’re not.
Nvidia is pitching this at “content creators seeking to record themselves while reading their notes or a script”, which sidesteps the ethical dilemmas of pretending you’re more engaged in a family chat than you are, or catching some shut-eye during a tedious company presentation.
This isn’t just some novelty googly eyes pasted crudely across your face. As the video below shows, the software will mimic your natural eye colour and even replicate blinks, so nobody will be on to your deception.
Should the feature break for any reason — if you look too far away, say — the feature even comes with a disconnection system to gently transition away from the simulation and back to where your eyes really are. Just to spare whoever you’re talking to the spectacle of an Exorcist-style horror experience.
Or that’s the idea, anyway. For some reason, the option isn’t showing up for me in the app, despite having the required RTX graphics card, so you’re spared a screenshot of me seemingly looking at the camera. But if it works for you, Nvidia is actively seeking feedback to try and improve it — it’s very much in beta for the time being.