Windows Live Messenger is all about improving communications, but the folks at Microsoft Research don't think it has to be serious all the time.

The folks from the Visual Computing team have just released a demonstration of their Digital Video Effects for MSN Messenger project which showcases ideas based on several core technologies developed in the past few years by the team: face detection, face alignment, face segmentation, and 3D face pose tracking.

This release includes some fun features:

  • Background Blur: blurs the background to protect the privacy of the user.
  • Magic Lens: morphing of facial features, such as enlarging the nose (I'm sure folks with find uses for that feature!).
  • Flying Text: let text flying out of the user’s mouth as the user types any text in the edit control.
  • 3D face mask: attach 3D virtual objects or masks on user’s face. It's almost Halloween!

Of course this is very much an alpha so it may have unexpected results. If you have problems it's a simple uninstall from Add/Remove Programs (WinXP) or Programs and Features (Vista).

I'm off to plug my video camera back in....