Ever look at a cover model, and wonder whether she really looks that good in person? (Sorry to pop your bubble, but most likely not.) What about that paparazzi shot of your favorite star or athlete snuggling with a skank you absolutely can't stand? Imaging pros and experts may be able to tell a bogus pic, but it's tougher for the rest of us to separate fact from fiction. That, however, may not be for long, thanks to a new application from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Researchers there have designed a program that can uncover the phonies altered via Photoshop.

What's smart about this software is that it can tell the difference between a pic that was merely changed to increase the light/dark levels or cropped, versus one that has someone's head pasted onto another's body. It does this by checking photographs for eight separate parameters — like changes in face shape, anatomy, skin textures and other telltale signs — and boasts an 80% accuracy rate, which is very good for a program in this class.

Guess tabloids' fake photo op days are pretty much numbered. And get this — although version 1 focuses on human faces, scientists say it can be worked to cover other types of images. Could that mean we could get a simple and accurate way to sniff out fake "unreleased device in the wild" pics? Then if you ask me, this program cannot come to market fast enough.

[via Pop Gadget, Gizmodo]