Skip to main content

Watch your toes. Snapchat’s new lens turns the ground into hot lava

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Kids who grew up pretending the floor was hot lava can now actually turn the ground into a molten mess using a smartphone and Snapchat’s newest augmented reality technology. Snap Inc. has launched ground segmentation World Lenses, a new tool that recognizes where the ground is in a photgraph in order to douse it with water or, yes, turn it into hot lava.

The feature demonstrates just how far Snapchat’s augmented reality technology has come from just simply placing a dancing hot dog into a scene. The ground segmentation technology uses machine learning to identify which parts of the image are the ground and which are not, a challenge that involved teaching a computer the geometry and semantics of the real world.

Once the camera recognizes what the ground is, the AR lenses will turn the ground into hot lava, complete with steam and unscathed patches of ground to jump on. Or, the “floor is water” lens will flood the ground and include a reflection of everything else in the scene.

The new World Lenses are a result of an internal version of Lens Studio, the desktop platform that allows users to create their own lenses. The internal version allowed Snap team members to build the lenses; Snap says the ability to recognize the floor may eventually be part of the widely available Lens Studio as well.

Snap calls the ground segmentation “a natural evolution and next step for us in understanding what the camera can see and helping our community learn more about the world around them.” Snapchat launched World Lenses in 2017, expanding beyond the selfie lenses that use facial recognition to apply the filters that are now what Snapchat is most known for. The ground segmentation expands on options like sky replacement filters. Other World Lenses that are more advanced than that now-iconic dancing hot dog include the option to transform iconic landmarks using AR.

To find the ground segmentation lenses, update Snapchat, then head into the camera view with the rear-facing camera. (Double tap if you are in selfie mode to switch cameras.)Tap the camera screen to bring up the lens carousel and look for the new options called “floor is water” and “floor is lava.”

Editors' Recommendations

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
Your Mac is about to get a killer security feature
Apple MacBook Pro 16 downward view showing keyboard and speaker.

Everyone is talking about the potential security problems with Apple's recent AI push, but Apple has also announced a new security feature in macOS Sequoia that sounds incredibly handy. The feature is called "Rotate Wi-Fi Address," which increases user privacy by randomly modifying your Apple device's MAC addresses when connected to a network.

In addition to being available in Sequoia, the feature is also coming to iOS 18 and iPadOS 18.

Read more
A breakthrough technology could make CPUs 100x faster
The PPU, as imagined by Flow Computing.

There are bold claims, and then, there are bold claims -- Flow Computing just made the latter. According to the startup, its proprietary tech, which it refers to as a parallel processing unit (PPU), can boost the performance of any CPU by up to 100 times.

It doesn't even have to be one of the best CPUs -- Flow Computing claims that all devices in need of high-performance CPUs will find massive benefits in using the company's PPU. There's more to it that sounds pretty amazing, but what are the odds that it'll actually make it to market? Let's take a closer look.

Read more
Your PC’s security is being attacked on two new fronts
Person using Windows 11 laptop on their lap by the window.

Your PC is facing a double whammy of cyber threats, both of them built into basic Windows features -- one that exploits Windows search and another a Wi-Fi vulnerability.

The first vulnerability allows hackers to exploit search in what researchers have called a "clever" way, as reported by Trustwave. It begins when users are tricked into downloading malware, starting with phishing emails with malicious .ZIP attachments containing HTML files disguised as invoices or something along those lines.

Read more