Maintaining eye contact, whether in face-to-face conversations or virtual meetings, is very important. According to science, keeping eye contact helps both people focus on the conversation and read facial expressions. It improves understanding, and when it does, it also improves communication between two people.
However, it is also true that maintaining eye contact is often difficult and challenging, such as during virtual meetings. You cannot help but be distracted and stare at something else, not the webcam.
Thankfully, with NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence-powered solution, you can maintain eye contact even if you look away from the camera. Interesting, right? Here’s the scoop.
NVIDIA recently released a beta version of its Eye Contact, which is an AI-run software video feature that can automatically maintain eye contact for you while on-camera through estimating and aligning gaze.
This feature ships with the 1.4 version of the NVIDIA Broadcast app, and the company is asking for feedback on improving it further. The reactions are mixed, with some saying it is “creepy.”
To achieve its effect, NVIDIA’s Eye Contact replaces your eyes gazing at another thing in the video stream with software-controlled simulated eyeballs that always look directly at the camera, even if the person is looking away from it in real life. These fake eyes also attempt to replicate the person’s natural eye color. And believe it or not, they even blink when you do.
So far, the responses to NVIDIA Eye Contact have been mostly negative. Twitter netizen @downrightdpad wrote on the platform, “I too, have always wanted streamers to maintain a terrifying level of unbroken eye contact while reading text that obviously isn’t displayed inside their webcams.”
Meanwhile, Scott Baker, a former TV news anchor, also weighed in on this recent feature, saying, “As a TV news anchor for decades… this is not quite the right approach. To make communication effective… you have to naturally break eye contact with the camera (just as you would in real life) fairly often.”
Baker added, “The power of eye contact in human communication is deeply researched. Locking eyes with someone for more than 7-10 seconds is intuitively regarded as creepy or uncomfortable. True across a dinner table, in front of a group, or through a camera.”
Not a first
This is not the first time a technology company has used simulated eyeballs to help maintain eye contact in video calls or streams.
Back in 2019, Apple introduced its “Eye Contact” feature in FaceTime that kept your eyes permanently glued to the camera. However, like NVIDIA’s version of this innovation, it also faced massive negative reactions upon its launch.
But if this is something you like, you can run Eye Contact yourself by downloading NVIDIA Broadcast for free from NVIDIA’s official website. It requires Windows and an NVIDIA RTX graphics card.
“The NVIDIA Broadcast app transforms any room into a home studio. Take your livestreams, voice chats, and video conference calls to the next level with AI-enhanced voice and video,” the company described NVIDIA Broadcast on its official website.