Facebook’s new AR feature for Portal lets users dress up as Harry Potter characters

WION Web Team
California, United StatesUpdated: Jul 08, 2021, 10:04 PM IST


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The AR masks that transform users into a Harry Potter character and match their skin tone via real-time skin sampling before converting it into a seamless integration

Social media giant Facebook Inc's video-calling device Portal is getting a 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' crossover that will allow users to dress up as characters from the play using AR (augmented reality) technology.

The AR masks that transform users into a character and match their skin tone via real-time skin sampling before converting it into a seamless integration, as per 'The Verge'.

The feature is powered by Facebook's Spark AR technology and works with Portal-to-Portal video calls for users in the United States and Britain.

Anyone can use the new feature by tapping 'Curtain Call' in the effects tray on Portal. You can then select one of three locations from the menu to visit: Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, or the Edge of the Forbidden Forest.

When the lights come up, each person on the call will embody a character from the show with a unique spell, which is assigned randomly. Simply nod your head or tap the screen to cast it and watch as your friends marvel at the magic.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had launched the first mainstream augmented reality platform at Facebook F8 called the Camera Effects Platform, which allows developers and artists to start building frames and interactive effects for Facebook’s camera.

Facebook is developing a wristband that would be able to control its augmented reality (AR) glasses that are expected to be launched this year.

Michael Abrash, who heads Facebook Reality Labs Research, said fully interactive display and audio capabilities could not yet be crammed into lightweight devices like glasses, which he estimated should be around 70 grams (2.5 oz) to be viable.

Those capabilities include the ability for people to jointly see and interact with persistent shared virtual objects, like a virtual whiteboard on which they could collaborate, he said.

Many in the industry believe the glasses will eventually replace the functionality of mobile phones altogether, making their development a hotly contested race among tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Alphabet’s Google.

Snap Inc’s “Spectacles,” initially released in 2016, began incorporating AR elements in its third generation product last year.

Abrash said smart glasses would need to rely on devices like phones for the forseeable future due to constraints like battery life and the heat generated by processing.

But with “true AR glasses,” he said, other devices would become “an accessory to the glasses, because the glasses are how you see and interact with the world.”

(With inputs from agencies)