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New technology predicts how you will age

Monday - 5/19/2014, 8:44pm  ET

Age technology (Courtesy EMP Museum and University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering)
If you've ever wondered what you'd look like 30 years, now you can see. New age progression technology allows you to peek into the future. (Courtesy EMP Museum and University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering)

WASHINGTON -- What will you look like in 10, 20, or 30 years?

Pretty soon, you could get a pretty good idea - for free - online.

It's called Illumination-Aware Age Progression, and it was created by researchers at the University of Washington's computer science and engineering department.

What makes this different from other apps and software that try to give you a glimpse into the future?

With this software, which will be available in a few months, you can input a picture of anybody, at any age.

"It actually changes the shape of the face, the nose, the lips and eyes, and the three-dimensional shape, which wasn't done before," says Ira Kemelmacher, one of the researchers behind the program.

What would Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain look like now, or in 60 years if he was still alive? What would Jimi Hendrix look like today? The program uses complex equations gathered from 40,000 photos of different people at different ages.

They found that our faces and noses get bigger over the years, but our eyes and lips narrow. We deal with sagging skin and wrinkles, the older we get.

Keep in mind the images don't account for the nip and tucks you may have get along the way.

Kemelmacher says they didn't have this in mind at first, but many missing children organizations have reached out to them for access to the software.

"It's very challenging to produce older versions of little kids and apparently it's very effective to have those photos, to find them," Kemelmacher says.

The hope is that this program, once released, will develop better images for investigators trying to find missing children, years after they disappeared.

The program will be released on the university's website for everyone to use.

"I haven't used it on myself," Kemelmacher says. She says a lot of people only want to try it on their kids not on themselves.

That's one crystal ball not everyone wants to look into.

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