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Snapchat uses TrueDepth on the iPhone X for ultra-realistic lenses

Snapchat released a set of three iPhone X-exclusive lenses Friday, data from the TrueDepth camera array, to form realistic AR overlays or masks on a user's face.

Source: Snapchat via The Verge

The new Snapchat lenses, including a Mardi Gras mask, Day of the Dead Face Paint with matching flower headdress and an ornate masquerade eye cover with rose hair jewelry, will begin Unrolling iPhone X users today reports The Verge .

As can be seen in the photos above, the TrueDepth-enabled AR masks are more associated with a user's facial topography than conventional lenses.

Unlike conventional lenses that rely on information from the 2D camera of a mobile phone to detect dominant facial features such as the eyebrows and mouth of a user, iPhone X lenses tap data generated by TrueDepth. The depth information allows Snapchat to pin virtual objects closer to a person's face.

Thanks to TrueDepth, the lenses reflect the surrounding light in a more realistic way and add a touch of blur to the background, Snap said.

Snapchat presented its specialized iPhone X lenses for the first time at Apple's iPhone event in September, where Apple's SVP software engineer Craig Federighi conducted a brief on-site demonstration demonstrating the face's ability to track facial movements, was shown.

Snapchat is one of the first major TrueDepth face data integration apps since the launch of iPhone X in November. Apple's facial recognition system and the underlying depth measurement technology raised the concerns of data privacy professionals who doubted that third parties should be granted access to such sensitive information.

Currently, Apple strictly limits developer access to TrueDepth. In particular, the mathematical representation of the face of a user used for Face ID authentication is kept secure and remains inaccessible to third parties. However, apps can access visual mapping data generated by TrueDepth, as well as a set of 50 different facial expressions, the latter of which supports Apple's Animoji feature.

Apple states in its Developer Agreement that facial data can not be used for advertising, marketing, or generating user profiles. Last year, an Apple employee who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter reported AppleInsider that developer access to TrueDepth data was "deeply, severely restricted".

Apple's most advanced biometric security solution, TrueDepth and Face ID, is expected to move into other product lines in the coming months. The latest rumors indicate that iPad Pro is next in line to be upgraded.


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