HP Touts Prototype Mobile Color-Matching

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced that it has created a mobile application that uses imaging algorithms, wireless broadband and the phone's digital camera to allow on-the-fly color matching.

HP is pushing the technology as a way for retailers to help boost sales by, for example, helping sell makeup that matches specific skin shades.

An HP statement paints this retail scenario: "Instead of sitting down with a consultant at a beauty counter, a shopper photographs herself using a mobile phone camera and while holding a specially designed color chart. The person then sends the photo as an MMS (multimedia message) to an advisory service. That system locates the person?s face within the image and color corrects the image for camera and lighting discrepancies."

The HP example continued: "Skin pixels are extracted from the color corrected image of the person?s face, and then compared to an existing database of previously captured and analyzed images of skin tones of real people. In a matter of seconds, people using the service receive a text message response with a recommendation on the shades of makeup that are best suited to their complexion."

HP is shopping this prototype technology from HP Labs in an attempt to find retail and consumer goods manufacturing partners.