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How Samsung brought the AR Emoji to life

From presenting information to sharing stories online, multimedia has become the dominant tool of communication on smartphones over the past years.

But the Galaxy S9/S9+ aims to take it up a notch with an all-new variety of intelligent and personalised emojis, which means users may never want to send plain text messages again. 

AR Emoji is designed to bring unique facial expressions and add more fun to the emoji experience. 

Regular emojis add more colour to the conversation and are a fun way to communicate, Samsung says they recognised there are a lot of times when the existing set of emojis just don’t cut it. 

These lack personality, one smile looks no different from another. 

So they started looking for ways to bring out more character and personality in emojis.

Samsung states in a release, “We thought in an ideal world, you would be able to teleport yourself and share how you feel with others then and there. 

“So we wanted to come up with a way to replicate that experience but with the simplest tools possible, having seen so many people use messaging apps to communicate even with people right next to them and rely heavily on emojis rather than text.”

“The focus quickly became how to create an image of the user and deliver multiple facial expressions and emotions along with that.”

To accomplish this, Samsung decided to leverage the Galaxy S9/S9+’s camera technology. 

They thought, if users could take a selfie and transform it into a custom avatar and emoji, it would add something unique to the fun of communicating. 

In addition, Samsung says they wanted to find a way to track people’s actual expressions so that they would have at their fingertips emojis that actually felt like their own.

Samsung says, “It was also important that we give users the best tools to express themselves however they want to look.”

“The first step toward this was to use augmented reality to generate an avatar.”

“With facial recognition technology, the Galaxy S9/S9+’s camera starts by producing an initial 3D rendering, using a data-based machine learning algorithm.”

In addition to this, Blend Shape technology helps deliver a greater range of different facial expressions. 

Based on 75 basic facial expressions, Blend Shape allows Samsung to reflect a wider set of user emotions by blending multiple expressions together.

The end product of this is AR Emoji, which among other features offers a realistic or cartoon-like option for creating your own personalised My Emoji. 

These can be transformed into a set of 18 different expressions.

In my opinion, despite this being a cool (if not a bit gimmicky) addition, I can’t really see it catching on after trying it myself.

Personally, I find the AR Emoji's, unfortunately, fall into the uncanny valley, which makes them just a bit too creepy for me to use in everyday scenarios.

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