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Snapchat’s new AR filters are wicked cool

(TECH NEWS) Snapchat recently released a set of filters which can be used to create some pretty cool 3D effects in the real-world.

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Flower crowns and voice changers

Snapchat’s photo filters are a large part of what has made the social media platform so popular. Snapchatters love using the filters to turn themselves into rainbows, butterflies, dogs, fairies, or just fine tune their complexion with a color-correcting filter.

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Now, users can take the filters they know and love and use them in the real-world to create 3D effects with their rear-facing smartphone camera.

3D filters for augmented reality

Snapchat announced it would be added their popular Lenses feature, which superimposes 3D effects over real-world photos using the rear-facing camera.

Previously, these effects could only be used with the front-facing camera for selfies, and they were not in 3D.

With Snapchat’s recent release of World Lenses, users can apply Lenses, add 3D text, create flowers that sprout, along with many other options that give the user a sense of augmented reality. Remember how wildly popular Pokemon Go was when it began? Augmented reality (AR) played a big part in that popularity.

AR allows the user to become more engaged with their surroundings.

Many other social media platforms (Facebook, Google, and Instagram) have a team of AR or VR experts working to fine tune these features to take their users’ experiences to the next level. The fact that Snapchat was the first to fully roll out a set of AR features, could up their game substantially. Considering Instagram Stories managed to reach an impressive milestone and surpass Snapchat by hitting 200 million users. Since Instagram’s stories were launched as a full-force competition to Snapchat’s Stories, it’s likely that Snapchat decided to launch their World Lenses as a one-up on Instagram.

How to use the real-world filters

Ready to give it a try? It’s not too different than the regular Snapchat lenses. To interact with an object, simply tap the camera screen after taking a rear-facing photo (from the app). Swiping up or down will change the 3D object’s distance or you can press and hold an object to pick it up and move it somewhere else. If you want to add a new object, simply tap somewhere in the screen (away from any previously placed objects) and you can add to your real-world photo.

The first time you use these lenses, there is an animation to help you through the process.

Like the regular selfie lenses, the 3D lenses will be rotated, changed, and continually updated so you always have a fresh selection of objects from which to choose.

In the past, Facebook and Instagram have adapted some feature from Snapchat so, it will be interesting to see if either platform takes on Snapchat’s recently introduced AR aspects.

It seems like AR and VR are the hot ticket item to engage users and keep them on your platform. Click To Tweet

Have you tried the new World Lenses yet? If you haven’t, will you?

#SnapAR

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

Jenzy helps perfectly measure your kids’ feet

(TECH NEWS) Jenzy is a mobile app currently in beta that helps you perfectly measure your kids feet and buy shoes without having to leave your home.

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Parents rejoice, there’s now a mobile app that sizes your child’s feet to determine their correct shoe size. No more carpet charts that every kid has put their dirty little socked foot on, or those weird metal sizing instruments.

With Jenzy, you just take a picture of your child’s foot, and the app calculates the measurements. It then generates personalized size and style recommendations, which you can order directly from the app.

Jenzy partners with podiatrist recommended brands designed for active kids, including pediped, Robeez, and Morgan & Milo. However, you don’t have to purchase their suggestions to receive the sizing info.

Incorrectly sized shoes are a literal pain for everyone, but this especially affects children, who don’t have purchasing power.

Additionally, shoes that don’t fit can have long-term effects on children’s growth and development, and lead to foot problems in the future. Properly fitted shoes are necessary for healthy foot development.

Wearing incorrectly sized shoes is just part of the problem. If shoes aren’t suited for every day use, children’s feet and overall growth can also suffer.

Flip flops, ballet pumps, and shoes with raised heels are not recommended by podiatrists for frequent use, as they can cause discomfort, or even musculoskeletal issues.

According to Dr. Stewart Morrison, a University of Brighton podiatrist, “children’s feet are still growing and are more susceptible to damage than adult feet, so it’s really vital to ensure they are wearing shoes which fit them well – in width as well as length – and that are suitable for age, as well as the task they are wearing them for.”

As online shopping has taken over, fewer parents are getting their children’s feet sized by in-store experts. Of course, there’s also a cost-barrier, as many stores that offer shoe-sizing are often more expensive.

Jenzy hopes to bridge that gap, providing parents both proper shoe sizes and affordable products designed to last.

Right now the app is set to launch in December, but if you don’t want to wait, apply to take part in the beta test on Jenzy’s site.

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Tech News

Time is money and Clockify helps you make the most

(TECH NEWS) Tracking your time worked as a freelancer can easily be lost in the shuffle. A new tool has been designed to make this important aspect easier.

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After years of searching for a method that works for me in terms of organization and productivity, the answer seemed to be simple: a calendar I can write on and Post-It notes. This method is a little old school, but seems to get the job done for my organizational needs.

However, there are some things that slip through the cracks with this method, but it’s more user error than it is the actual practice. One thing I struggle with is keeping track of my freelance hours this way.

I have a tendency to guesstimate how much time I worked throughout the day and know that I wind up underdocumenting my hours. I would hate to know how much money I’ve missed out on keeping (sometimes inaccurate) handwritten notes.

But, like many other small scale issues, there is a simple solution. And that is found in the form of time trackers.

One of the newest members to join the online time tracker team is Clockify, who operates under the idea of “your time, your rules.” It is a free time tracking tool designed for agencies and freelancers.

Clockify allows users to manage as many team members, projects, and workspaces that you need in an effort to help your business run smoothly. This allows for a complete overview of team productivity.

The tool offers a way to enter time manually as well as clock time automatically. This way you can keep tabs on what you’re working on and assign and label time logs to the appropriate clients.

With this time tracking, you are able to generate weekly, monthly, and annual reports at any given time. These reports can be saved, exported, and shared with clients to give them more information about your work process.

The real-time tracking helps to improve business efficiency and gives more insight into what each team member is spending their time on. Having this information available can give visual representation of how to improve in the future.

Clockify currently exists in desktop format with iOS and Android apps coming soon.

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Tech News

Russia vetoed cryptocurrency and came back with CryptoRuble

(TECH NEWS) Russia put a hard pass on other cryptocurrencies in their country so that they could hop in the crypto-game with their own CryptoRuble.

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Just days after The American Genius reported that the Russian Central Bank would attempt to block access to cryptocurrency trading cites, the Coin Telegraph has reported that the Russian government will issue its very own cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble.

The report cited local Russian papers, who quoted the minister of communications, Nikolay Nikiforov.

Earlier this week, head of the Central Bank, Sergei Shvetsov, said that he would work with the Prosecutor General’s Office to ban Russian citizens from accessing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, calling such currencies a “negative phenomena for our markets” and a “pyramid scheme.”

Now it appears that the Kremlin will create its own cryptocurrency – one it can keep an eye on — which, some might argue, defeats the entire purpose of cryptocurrency.

However, like other cryptocurrencies the CryptoRuble will be based on blockchain and will presumably help prevent online fraud.

CryptoRubles will be exchangeable with regular Rubles, although the systems of exchange have not yet been set up. Experts think that Russia is hoping to stimulate e-commerce without the need for foreign money markets, which will allow them to have more independence from the United States.

According to Nikiforov, the Russian government is setting up its own cryptocurrency under the assumption that if they don’t, other European governments will.

Said NIkiforov, “I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after two months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”

Traders using CryptoRubles will be asked to provide documentation of retail transactions and services rendered – or pay a 13 percent tax for undocumented transactions, leaving a wide loophole for money laundering.

Critics say that Russia is trying to facilitate, while also profiting from money laundering; that the Kremlin is stealing the market from other cryptocurrencies; and that the CryptoRuble fundamentally defies the spirit of decentralization that inspired other cryptocurrencies.

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