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Updated: May 21, 2014 18:26 IST

Re-inventing the emoticon

Sudhish Kamath
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The avatars
The avatars

You can try make-up, clothes and accessories virtually, thanks to S. S. Vasan's innovation, Humecons

S.S. Vasan, former IIT-ian, wants to put a smile on your face. Literally.

Unhappy with humans using smileys to communicate mood, he came up with an idea — re-inventing the emoticon by personalising it. “I got the idea of adding emotion to the picture two years ago,” says the founder of Humecons (Smileys/Emoticons with your face in it).

“I spoke to my Professors Dr. L.S. Ganesh of Department of Management Studies and Dr. C. Panduragan of Computer Science and what started as a hobby project, slowly evolved. By mid-2009, we got a concrete structure and developed the application to include human make-up, virtual make-up and fashion avatars.”

Two months ago, Humecons launched its B2B applications — Glam (that lets you test make-up on your face virtually by letting you apply it over your photograph), iGlam (Glam for your iPhone), Fashion Avatars (that will let you try out clothes “everything from the latest season collection” without you needing to slip in and out of them physically), Jewelry (to help you pick and choose the one that goes best with your face by letting you place it over your photograph) and Eye Glasses (to help you choose the right frame for your eyes.

And last week, Vasan got his first big cheque and Humecons got 3,000 visits from 49 countries.

“You don't need a comic character to represent you even in the virtual world. Not when you can do digital make-up and choose your fashion avatar. You can choose body-type and accessories but you can use your own face, send it as a greeting card, use Humecons during a chat with friends and be your own avatar,” explains Vasan. While Humecons is absolutely free, Vasan makes his money from his B2B applications.

“We've already got a couple of orders from the U.S. for virtual makeup Glam. With Glam, we can customise the needs of cosmetic companies and give them an application with their entire catalogue of colours and shades.”

Similarly, with his Fashion Avatars, Vasan can customise virtual trial rooms for companies, stores that will let their customers try out the entire range of the season's collection, and with Jewelry and Eye Glasses applications, customers will be able to see what the product looks like on them without having to physically try out scores of options.

“We want to eliminate the pain point in physical shopping. We are in no way stopping their touch and feel experience but only facilitating/minimising the shopping time, making it a pleasure.”

Vasan passed out of IIT in 2006 (he did his M Tech) and worked as a Java architect for the New York Stock Exchange and a company called Engage in Atlanta. “With the money I earned, I funded this project.”

“The Americans think that we Indians are only good with services and not with products and, of late, even in services, we were not up to the mark. When I heard this, I wanted to prove them wrong. So I said, ‘Chalo, let's take a risk and quit my job and got into this full-time.'”

Vasan has filed for a patent in India and runs his facial image processing company with nine full-timers and 14 part-timers.

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