1 May 2018

How Samsung Embraced AR with the Galaxy S9

Posted By Laura Thompson
Animoji apps AR augmented reality Blend Shape Emoji facial tracking interactive technology Loom.ai Samsung smart phone apps
Samsung’s hotly anticipated Galaxy S9 was released in March 2018, with new additions that make AR nerds like us pay attention! Ears pricked up in the Peel Interactive office when we learned that Augmented Reality features were being integrated into the smart phones, so we dug a little deeper and found out more.
Samsung collaborated on the project with Loom.ai, a 3D animation company founded by Mahesh Ramasubramanian and Kiran Bhat, whose previous credits include visual effects at DreamWorks and Lucasfilm.

They combined their character-building expertise with facial tracking and Blend Shape technology, to create a fun feature that creates personalised, animated emojis of its users. The facial tracking technology allows the avatar to follow the users’ movements and expressions in real time and the use of Blend Shape should keep the avatar’s movement expressive and natural-looking. AR Emoji also includes the ability to record and share videos of your emoji talking, singing or just making silly faces.

There’s no denying that emojis are a modern cultural phenomenon- there was even a blockbuster movie based around them- and Apple already launched their Animoji feature for iPhone X in November 2017. Animojis also use Augmented Reality and facial tracking allowing the user to control certain existing emojis with their own expressions. Samsung’s app aims to push the technology that bit further, creating animated emojis with the user’s likeness- but have they succeeded?

There has been some criticism of the AR Emoji software, the main points being that the avatars created sometimes don’t look similar enough to the user, that the movements aren’t always smooth and that they simply don’t look as appealing as the cute, cartoon animal Animojis. One of the founders of Loom.ai have come back at criticisms and explained that more photorealistic avatars are a possibility, but that they would take time for users to load and that “people’s attention span is low”.

We look forward to seeing what improvements or updates Loom.ai and Samsung come up with for the next in the Galaxy series.

Another feature available on the Galaxy S9 and S8 is Bixby Vision- essentially an in-built Augmented Reality assistant.
Seen something you love and want to know where you can get one? In a new place and want to know where the nearest restaurants are? Just point your phone at an object or place and your camera will identify it, search online and then display where you can purchase the object, or point out any restaurants around you, for example.
Bixby Vision is also able to translate text, read QR codes and recognise landmarks. The possibilities with this kind of AR technology are endless, relatively simple to produce and surely have a place in any sector of business- whether that’s leisure, education, heritage... the list goes on!

In the fast-moving world of interactive technology, we at Peel Interactive always endeavour to stay ahead of what’s new, reacting and adapting in order to best serve our clients needs.
Peel Interactive is a Creative Digital Agency providing custom VR and AR solutions for clients across the leisure, tourism, museum, heritage sectors, and more. If you would like to enquire about how Peel Interactive’s services would be of use to you, please contact ian.capper@peelinteractive.co.uk or call 01756 796176.

All images credited to Samsung.