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Snapchat’s AR Capabilities Have Only Scratched The Surface

Local lenses, AR, Snapchat

Ever since Lens Studio was released back in 2017, Snapchat has ramped up its use of augmented reality each year through the release of brand new lenses, features, games and a whole new level of community interaction.

Snap Inc. recently announced, at its Snap Partner Summit 2020, a whole host of new cool and fun features that will revolutionise how we use AR in the future.

Women Love Tech had the opportunity to speak with Snap’s SVP of Camera Platform, Eitan Pilipski, to discuss the reasons behind Snapchat’s beginnings in AR, what we can expect, and what he’s looking forward to in particular.

Eitan Pilipski, AR, Snap
Eitan Pilipski (credit: medium.com)

At this year’s online summit, Snap Inc. announced new features including Snap Originals, a news content product, major content deals, a brand-new way of navigating Snapchat.

Eitan Pilipski was excited about the introduction of machine learning (ML) to Lens Studio. Lens Studio, released in 2017, is a free desktop application that users can download to develop and build their own AR lenses on Snapchat. Now, with SnapML, Snapchat is pushing its creative boundaries to the limit by allowing developers to incorporate their own machine learning models to power the lenses that they create. To put all this into motion, Snap has partnered up with Wannaby, Prisma, CV2020, and several other official lens creators.

Pilipski’s enthusiasm towards SnapML is understandable as he said it could very easily bring AR usage to the next level. In the above image, this Wannaby creation essentially lets users test drive a pair of shoes to see if they like the style by overlaying the model onto the users’ feet. Machine Learning tools can even create features like voice commands to activate certain lenses. For example, a command such as “Hey Snapchat, make my hair pink,” would subsequently activate a lens that is capable of doing exactly that. SnapML makes its camera even smarter than before.

SnapML Prisma

Pilipski also spoke of other additions to Lens Studio including Face Landmarks and Face Expressions (as seen above) which enhance facial tracking, all-new Hand Gesture templates and a new user interface. This, he said, would not only make peoples’ experiences more enjoyable and personalised, but would also unlock a whole new level of interactivity amongst not only Snapchat users, but also Snapchat’s vast creative community. We only recently saw Snapchat creating AR lenses in support of the LGBTQI+ community, which is just one of the examples of how it’s bringing people of all walks of life together.

Here’s a quick look at what you can expect from SnapML:

The Camera Kit bundle which will eventually see companies like Nike, for example, integrate Snap’s AR tech into their own apps. This begs the question, how many doors will this open? Could we soon use AR to try on clothes from an online website? It’s highly probable. But it could go even further than that and inspire a whole generation to start working in AR as companies begin to integrate it into their business models. Many jobs would be created as a result.

Snap’s latest AR announcements show its commitment to driving interactivity and encouraging participation by making it easier than ever for people to start getting creative. Soon, we may see AR jump out of our smartphones (not literally) and join in on our daily lives. The possibilities are endless when creativity is powered by AR.

Emeric Brard

Written by Emeric Brard

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