ooVoo and Intel Bring Augmented Reality to Video Chat

New technology will allow users to create virtual avatars that mimic facial expressions in real time and replace the background inside the video.

The video chat market is beginning to open up to more participants; each new service attempts to offer something unique. Skype’s Qik service allows ephemeral messaging. Kim Dotcom’s Mega service offers secured video chat. And ooVoo, which offers high quality video chat with up to 12 people, is teaming up with Intel to offer new features and stay ahead of the pack.

ooVoo has worked with Intel in the past to develop its Superclear technology, which allows true HD video calling from mobile devices. The latest project aims to bring augmented reality features into the platform.

According to an official press release:

The collaboration will bring together unique experiences inside a video chat that range from virtual avatars that can mimic users’ facial expressions in real time, to background replacement inside the video call.

This creation of virtual avatars is possible using Intel’s Realsense 3D camera for mobile and ooVoo’s Intelligent Video integration with the camera, which debuted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. The technology will begin to appear in devices late this year.

It seems novelty and expression are becoming more important in the social space, especially when it comes to video chat and video content. As prominent YouTube creator Hank Green noted, the “last decade of uncontrollable growth happened because it was inevitable.” That inevitability stems not from investment, but from creative and engaged audiences.

Social sites create value for their users, by offering more tools for creativity and expression, and user pay it back in spades by creating content and maintaining a dedication to the service. While it may seem like these are small additions, these features could become indispensable tools for an engaged user base.