Nvidia's latest AI lets you maintain uncanny valley levels of eye contact on camera

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Nvidia's latest AI trick is a tool to ensure you're always looking attentive on camera, whether you're actually paying any attention to what's going on or not. It's called Eye Contact, and it's now available within the Nvidia Broadcast app. It's also kind of creepy—mostly because it's actually pretty good.

It's a nifty trick getting an AI to mimic a human retina, and one that makes appearing attentive in boring meetings or reading a scripted piece to camera a whole lot easier. 

I've been trying it out to see just how well an AI mimics a human eyeball, and I've got to say it does a frighteningly good job. Considering the quality of your average webcam, it's tough to discern the AI-manufactured stare from a real one in a small window. The AI-generated eyeballs are hardly noticeable even blown up full-screen, though can on rare occasion look a little cartoonish.

There are times when it can't quite keep your eyes centred on the screen, however, and it's these moments when you end up looking a little shifty as a result. If I stare off towards the extremes of my second-monitor, the effect flickers on and off. In one moment I'm staring directly at the camera, and in another I'm looking completely the other way. It's off putting, to say the least. 

When used reasonably, I dare say the effect is actually of a high enough quality to fool most. Especially in a tiny window, say in a Google Meet. For recorded media, perhaps less so, but it really depends on what you're using it for. You might find it's more of a hindrance than a help when you're recording something where you're moving about much and the effect flickers on and off, but that can depend on your webcam angle, lighting, quality, etc. The less movement and the closer you are to looking at the webcam already, the better the effect.

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You just need to consider one thing: How long are you going to be in a call for and do you want to appear as though you're staring at the webcam for that entire time? You might find your co-workers don't want to hang out with you as much if you're staring them in the eyes for entire hour-long video calls.

If you want to give it a go for yourself, the Eye Contact tool runs on any RTX graphics card and it's free to use. You'll find it in the Nvidia Broadcast app, version 1.4, which just launched today. Check it out on the Nvidia website (opens in new tab)

Other features of the app include Auto Frame, which dynamically follows you around the scene; Video Noise Removal, which helps clear up noisy images; Virtual Backgrounds, which are par for the course in a post-Covid world; and Noise and Echo Removal, previously known as RTX Voice (opens in new tab)

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.