Both Apple and Samsung’s flagship phones can turn you into an animated emoji thanks to clever face tracking technology. It usually relies on the phone having a 3D camera which can track your face.
However a company called Magic Unicorn has built a new app called Chudo that doesn’t require special hardware, in fact the company says it can run on virtually any device, including an iPod Touch.
This is significant because the app only uses a single selfie to build a 3D mesh of your head. The company says that then a further three neural networks examine the image.
One handles eyebrows, one matches eye colour while the rhird draws in glasses if you wear them.
The app then turns you into some sort of animal of your choosing, but it’s only using a very small part of your face to give your characteristics to a creature.
Essentially the app is drawing a box around your eyes, and using that to create the 3D avatar. It’s quite amazing just how little human detail is required to transform you into a monkey, unicorn or an avocado.
There are some other interesting things about how the system works. It can process 60 frames per second, creating smooth motion, and recognise tiny microexpressions.
It can also track tongue position accurately, something the company says isn’t possible with competing products.
And because the technology works with budget phones it’s also become popular with those who feel excluded by the features usually only found on high-end smartphones.
The company says most avatars are free, but that it charges for a select few. The Unicorn is most expensive, at $2.99 while converting yourself into an egg is reasonably affordable at $0.99.
We tested the app quickly to see how good it was. As it turns out the face tracking on our iPhone XS Max was very good – but you’d expect it to be. But even so the full tongue tracking was something interesting.
For those with older phones, this app might be perfect if you want animated Emoji.