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Google Adds AR Mode to its Motion Stills App

Continuing the augmented reality (AR) theme after the BBC announced its first AR app, Google has now updated its Motion Stills for Android app with an AR mode, allowing users to add virtual 3D objects to their GIFs and videos.

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The mode allows fun 3D objects like chickens and dinosaurs to be placed on static or moving horizontal surfaces such as tables, floors, or hands just by touching the screen. Additionally, the new feature includes instant motion tracking, a six degree of freedom system built upon the technology that powers Motion Text in Motion Stills iOS to accurately track static and moving objects.

With the instant motion tracking objects can be stuck to a surface, allowing users to move around it for that added sense of integration into a scene. It does this by assuming the surface the object has been placed on is parallel to the ground. As Google explains: “By assuming that the tracked surface is parallel to the ground plane, and using the device’s accelerometer  sensor to provide the initial orientation of the phone with respect to the ground plane, one can track the six degrees of freedom of the camera (3 for translation and 3 for rotation). This allows us to accurately transform and render the virtual object within the scene.”

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The clever part about Google’s instant motion tracking approach is that it’s calibration free and works on any Android device with a gyroscope, so ARCore isn’t needed.

If the models look slightly familiar its because they’ve come from Google’s new 3D model library Poly. Motion Still is available for all Android devices for free, there’s been no mention if Google plans on bringing it to iOS devices. As the company continues to make AR technology more widely available VRFocus will let you know.