Digital imprint: Toppan working to develop hi-def skin diagnostic tech for smartphones by 2022

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Toppan conducts pilot testing on high-definition face scanning. [Toppan]
Toppan conducts pilot testing on high-definition face scanning. [Toppan]

Related tags: digital, Skin care, Personalisation

Japanese company Toppan Printing is working to translate high-definition facial scanning technology into a more consumer-friendly version for mobile and web by 2022.

Toppan recently announced that it has recently worked with Japanese cosmetic company Kosé Corporation to successfully pilot test high-definition facial scanning and the optical simulation of layers of cosmetic application.

The firms were able to faithfully produce 3D computer graphics of the characteristics of a face as well as the pigment and textures of Kosé cosmetic products.

The 3D computer graphic data was generated from the results of high-definition facial scanning using the Light Stage developed by the University of Southern California (USC).

A Light Stage is a device that controls multiple light sources in a spherical dome for high-definition scanning of face shape as well as tone and texture with a high degree of accuracy.

This same technology has been used in the film industry in blockbusters such as Avatar and The Avengers.

Toppan is aiming to adapt this technology to the beauty industry as a solution to the issues that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, the pandemic has limited opportunities for face-to-face counselling with customers in stores. In many cases, testers have been removed from display shelves, making it problematic for consumers to select products.

As such, Toppan and Kosé believes this technology can help in the development of systems that facilitate high-definition cosmetics simulations, counselling, and product selection in a virtual space.

As the Light Stage is a large and sophisticated piece of technology, the company told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that it is currently working to scale it down and make it more viable for commercial adoption.

“Among others, we are working specifically on the development of a viewer to enable high-quality data to be viewed on the web and mobile devices. As well as the development of an engine for skin diagnostics by smartphones based on measured data sets,”​ said Shu Tanabe, manager of Business Creation in Toppan’s Business Development Division.

Tanabe revealed that the company expects practical implementation to be possible from 2022 onwards.

Additionally, the firm currently in discussions with Kosé to explore the potential of using this technology in the e-commerce and digital marketing field for the post-COVID-19 era.

‘Human digitalisation’

For this project, Toppan handled the facial scanning, 3D computer graphic data generation, cosmetics information mapping, and development of a makeup simulator.

On the other hand, Kosé provided test participants for the Light Stage, and supplied Toppan with information on cosmetic products, and advised on cosmetics simulator.

It was undertaken by Toppan Virtual Human Lab which was announced in December 2020 as part of its project to explore human digitalisation and create a ‘Human Body Information Platform’.

“One of the core businesses of Toppan is content creation that delivers information optimised for each type of media. We have decided to explore human digitisation because we are now seeing diversification of media – AR, VR, live commerce – and personalisation of the information exchanged,”​ said Tanabe.

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