Miso Happy app gives selfies an AR twist, with unsettling and hilarious results

miso happy selfie app news

Remember the mad selfie app Meitu, which did an astonishing job of turning your normal face into one that had been airbrushed into oblivion? The craze may have passed, but selfie fans looking for the latest thing have found a new obsession. It’s called Miso Happy, and it takes your humble selfie, then gives it an augmented reality twist by stitching your face on to a series of crazy 3D cartoon characters who strut their stuff in the real world.

It’s the work of Finnish app developers Futurefly, and June 1 marked its global launch on the Apple App Store. There are only a handful of pre-installed characters to try at the moment, but the app comes with the promise of new characters to unlock each day. Some will be added for free, and others will require you to watch an ad. When we tried the app, two new characters were accessed by watching a 30-second video ad.

Open the app, and you’re instructed to snap a selfie. Miso Happy is technically impressive, and uses computer vision to map your face, and face detection to get the position of your features just right, before finally adding 3D effects. It’s a similar method to that employed by Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. The result is both extremely cool and utterly bizarre.

It’s clearly you, but also not you at the same time. Oddly, my own Miso Happy character has shockingly white teeth, which are fully on display. A lot of time could be spent getting your character, surroundings, and expression just right. When you’re happy, the app saves a still and a video to your Photo Gallery, ready for it to be shared online.

And what selfie app would be complete without a beauty mode? Exactly none, so there’s a three-stage beautify mode for your selfies, and the chance to store more than one. This is ideal for adopting different expressions suited to different digital characters, which range from a guy on a hoverboard to a sumo wrestler. There’s only one female character included in the U.K. version we downloaded though, which seems to be a massive oversight; but characters do appear to differ by geographic location.

It’s all ridiculous, and therefore has considerable potential to become a massive social hit. Currently Miso Happy is only available for iOS, but an Android version is in development for release in the future.