NUCA Camera – AI Powered “Natural Nudity”?

2023 Dec

Concept + Idea

Mathias Vef and Benedikt Groß

Prompting and Video

Mathias Vef

Prompt Engineering + Programming

Benedikt Groß

Product Design and 3d Printing

Benedikt Groß

NUCA is an AI-powered camera that captures individuals in their purest form – no clothing, literally stripped down to their authentic selves in their natural state.

A camera that renders people completely naked? Ever fantasized about Superman’s X-Ray Vision? NUCA brings that childhood dream (of many boys) to life, challenging our perceptions of privacy and exposure. The project wants to explore what that “dream” coming true could mean and explore this new scenario together with you. Unlike other deepfakes, the NUCA device ties creator and subject physically together, and shows the result immediately. It so takes away the anonymity that is inherent to internet deepfakes and contrasts playfulness with this nightmarish trend. To make this speculative (though very plausible) scenario tangible, NUCA is framed in the manner of a typical tech startup, trying with a private beta campaign to find its users.

NUCA is a speculative consumer product and not meant to be used uncontrolled in “the wild”. The generated images are not used in any way, except with explicit consent given. To ensure the safety of minors, the project is exclusively for adults.

NUCA has already sparked diverse reactions, ranging from fears of AI’s bias towards body cult and beauty mania to enthusiasm for its celebration of natural human beauty and form. This project prompts a crucial discussion on AI’s potential, emphasizing consent, algorithmic fairness, and the societal impacts of AI-generated imagery. As Emanuel Maiberg and Samantha Cole put it, we must confront that we are facing an “explosion of non-consensual sexual imagery that’s seeping out of every crack of internet infrastructure […] a new type of pornography in which humans are only a memory that’s copied and remixed to instantly generate whatever sexual image a user can describe with words”. [Source]

The current NUCA prototype is a 3d-printed camera (19.5 × 6 × 1.5 cm, 430g). The device is equipped with a 37 mm wide angle lens and an ergonomic grip. The viewfinder displays the input image and can be configured to show some of the input parameters e.g. pose detection in real-time. By pressing the trigger, the camera will create an estimated natural nude representation of the person being photographed. The inputs of the generative image process are the photo, the person’s pose (estimated skeleton) and the landmarks of the person’s face. The input photo is being analyzed by a custom classifier on 45 identifiers on gender, age, ethnicity, expression, hair, glasses, body shape etc. These ratings are then being used to generate a base image by formulating a prompt for a text-to-image AI (Stable Diffusion). The base image is a generic estimation of a nude person fulfilling this prompt. In the last step the image is then being individualized by taking the person’s face and pose into account in the final development of the nude portrait.

NUCA is a speculative design and art project by Mathias Vef and Benedikt Groß. The project aims to provoke and question the current trajectory of generative AI in reproducing body images. – Project Site