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Snapchat's New Lenses Leverage The iPhone X's TrueDepth Camera Technology

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Snapchat has made lenses popular, and now it is taking it further with help from the iPhone X's TrueDepth front-facing cameras.

Now, the lenses are more realistic and stick to the contours of the user's face.

How Snapchat Lenses Work With TrueDepth

The iPhone X's TrueDepth feature on its front snappers maps out the user's face, allowing it to identify it in 3D. The way it works is not as easy as it sounds, but it essentially allows the device to correctly recognize a real face. It can't be fooled easily by masks and pictures or even a 3D representation because it also looks for cues not present in fake faces.

This is what enables Snapchat to create lenses that fit into the user's facial topography. Unlike the previous masks that relied on facial features like the mouth and eyebrows, the new AR masks rely on the data from the iPhone X's TrueDepth cameras. The beam of infra-red light maps out 30,000 points in the face, which also allows the camera to accurately any facial movement.

Snap also says that TrueDepth lets it blur the background and apply 3D objects and some small details. These objects react to ambient lighting, which produces highlights and shadows on the contours of the face.

As can be seen on the images from Snapchat, the three masks fit tightly that they almost look real even when the models are moving. The Mardi Gras mask, in particular, lays down nicely on the cheeks and the jaw. Aside from that, there's a Day of the Dead face paint and a gold masquerade eye mask with matching headdresses for both.

More lenses are presumed to be coming soon as Snapchat tries to reclaim the users it lost when it pushed its pretty unpopular redesign of the app.

Access To Face Mapping Data Raises Concerns

Apple only provides third-party developers with the visual face mapping data and not the Face ID mathematical model to authenticate a user's face. It should keep the data safe and secure, while companies cannot also use it for targeted advertising.

Still, having access to the visual data gives enough power to app developers. The Snapchat Lenses can track 50 facial expressions, which can give Snap information on how users move their mouth, for example. While Apple prohibits creating user profiles and then identifying people from the data, it's not hard to imagine that ill-meaning companies might eventually abuse this technology somehow.

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