Your Snapchat selfies could soon get the full-blown 3D treatment

Snapchat has quietly purchased augmented reality startup Seene, with plans to incorporate its tech into its app.

If you’re wondering what that means for you and your silly (sorry, stupendous) snaps; the simple answer is that your visual messages could go full-on 3D. But there’s a lot more to Seene’s consumer technology than just 3D selfies — and it all ties in with Snapchat’s rumored plans to expand into virtual reality.

Wait a second, that’s not to downplay the value of a 3D selfie. After all, it sounds pretty darn cool, don’t you think? A closer look at the little-known Seene app reveals that it allows users to scan and recreate full 3D geometry on a smartphone. Unlike other augmented reality tech — including Google’s Project Tango, the Microsoft Kinect, and Amazon’s short-lived Fire phone — Seene doesn’t rely on several cameras or infrared sensors to pull off this feat. Instead, it simply uses your phone’s camera to quickly scan your face and reproduce a 3D render.

Additionally, Seene can utilize your phone’s rear camera to apply those same functions to real-life 2D objects. The app itself was envisioned as an Instagram for 3D scenes, reports TechCrunch.

Having quietly acquired the U.S. and London-based startup for a reportedly low price, Snapchat is now interested in absorbing its computer-vision tech into its own app. To achieve that goal, it is planning to shift the majority of Seene’s team to its headquarters in Los Angeles. Although Snapchat has not released an official statement, the acquisition could spell the end for the Seene app.

The startup’s experience and central technology could also be used in the VR hardware Snapchat is rumored to be working on, and the apps it will no doubt need to develop for said products.

The immediate future, however, could be about expanding the popular lens filters that have taken over the popular messaging app. It is thought that Snapchat’s face-swap option could be the reason why its daily usage numbers have overtaken those of rival Twitter. The allure of engaging 3D images will also appeal to potential advertisers and media publishers, who are already flocking to take advantage of the app.

Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Mobile

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Digital Trends Live

Dyne sits at the intersection of fashion and technology, creative director says

While we've seen companies like Nike use technology to improve its products and push boundaries, Dyne is doing something a little different. We sat down with Chris Bevans of Dyne on this episode of DT Daily to talk fashion and technology.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.
Photography

Photography news: Best spot for fall photos, new firmware from Fuji and Nikon

Where's the best spot to take fall photos? Michigan, according to social media and a Nikon contest. The results and more in this week's photography news, including significant firmware updates for the Fujifilm X-T3, X-H1, and GFX 50S.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.