Google Adds ARCore Software to Pixel 3
February 25, 2019
Google (GOOG) has a platform for mobile AR (ARCore) that does not need specialized hardware to function and is the basis for Pixel 3 features like Playmoji, which allows the user to put virtual emboli’s onto a live camera image. ARCore tracks the position of the device against the phones inertial sensors and can identify key points, surfaces, and lighting to build a ‘picture’ of the world you are looking at (through the smartphone camera), and can give the user the ability to place objects into that image even when the image is moving. Google developers use an example of placing a sleeping kitten image on the corner of a table that you are viewing. You can move the camera around to see objects from any angle and even leave the room, but the sleeping kitten will still be in the same position on the table when you return to the room. All recent Google phones and a large swath of Android phones, along with iPhones (6s and up) and iPads, can make use of these capabilities, but the most recent release of the platform allows users to map faces without depth sensing cameras, which gives users the ability to put a mask on a moving face, or change skin color in a video without expensive editing tools or hardware, a feat not lightly taken, but we know where this is going if you are one who likes to ‘modify’ videos of friends (or enemies) and distribute to same. Soon such real-time ‘modifications’ will become a source of laughter for groups gathered around a smartphone watching a nasty teacher transform into a bug-eyed monster or turn a variety of colors.
While Google developers slave away working toward making smartphones into video production devices, we expect such features will be used for far less imaginative processes. The following URL is a GIF that shows the process at work here: