Witchcraft! That's what you'll scream after watching how this program makes objects disappear from a live video—in real time. It's the opposite of augmented reality: Instead of adding digital things, this technology eliminates objects from the real world.
The research team led by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Broll—Head of the Department of Virtual Worlds and Digital Games at the Technische Universität in Ilmenau, Germany—calls it Disminishing Reality System. Think about it as Adobe Photoshop Content-Aware fill but in real time, using a video camera connected to your computer or smartphone.
How it works?
Their software takes a live video feed and does some pretty neat seemingly magic tricks with it. After roughly selecting the object, their program reduces the quality of the frames coming from the camera. Then it removes the object from the reduced quality version. Once this is done, it improves the quality of the result and blends it with the actual frame, which is returned to the viewer in just 41ms. At that speed, the human brain doesn't notice any delay.
The results seem truly magical. I wish I could go around the world with eyeglasses that had this feature built-in. And with an "execute disintegration" button too. [Technische Universitat (in German)—Thanks Karl!]