A colleague sent me this youtube video, which I think is awesome:
They can construct a 3-d model of a human face from a single photograph, by combining two learning systems that look for facial features. See how authentic Tom Hanks's 3-d model came out:
I was surprised to see that this technology was presented in SIGGRAPH '99, an entire ten years ago, yet it's not prevalent today. The paper and other information can be found on this page about the Morphable Facial Model project.
Forget creating my own creature in Spore. I want to upload photographs of myself and everyone I know, and use them as the faces of the characters in the next game I play:
Performance might have been an obstacle in the past. The paper says each construction took 50 minutes on the SGI R10000 (approximately a 200MHz processor). The resulting model uses 70000 vertices. I bet that could be reduced, with some tradeoff in accuracy of the face.
I am waiting to use this technology with Rock Band. Also I think it would be popular among some people with the Hot Coffee mod.