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Monday, June 11, 2018

St. Louis Finally Has Its Own Snapchat Lens

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 6:12 AM

click to enlarge So St. Louis. - VIA SHOW ME VIRTUAL
  • So St. Louis.

St. Louis now has a new way of looking at things — or rather, a new way of looking at a digital reflection of things.

Local company ShowMeVirtual just released its augmented reality Snapchat lens, titled "Welcome to St. Louis."

"It's a way to let people poke fun at themselves and some of the cliches that St. Louis is known for," says Ian Renz, one of ShowMeVirtual's founders.

ShowMeVirtual, which was founded in 2014, focuses primarily on AR/VR functions for commercial and private use (that's "augmented reality" and "virtual reality" for you Luddites). The hope behind the app is more than just some laughs. "We want to see more creative immersive media projects here that promote the city of St. Louis and its surrounding culture," Renz says.

For those out of the loop, Snapchat is a smartphone app. It serves as a camera that replaces regular texting and written communication with images. It's essentially a modern-day camera obscura, only the images (as well as your data, potentially) can be shared with the world and everyone around you.

There are several unique aspects to the images you take of yourself or others — namely filters, which use facial recognition software to customize the way the user’s face appears, often in comedic ways. The app's “Welcome to St. Louis” option utilizes this technology, providing a plethora of custom, STL-themed lenses and something called World AR Arch Portals.

click to enlarge The app can be a portal to the riverfront, among others. - VIA SHOW ME VIRTUAL
  • The app can be a portal to the riverfront, among others.
Arch Portals are essentially local spots of note selected by the app developers. Once chosen, they can show the viewer a 360-degree view of that area, immersing them into a virtual reality-driven experience.

Even the Riverfront Times is included, with a lens that spews mini signs adorned with the RFT logo out of the user’s mouth. Others lenses place glasses shaped like toasted ravioli on the user’s head, and, of course, Arch-themed glasses.

ShowMeVirtual is receiving positive feedback already, as Snapchat chose to include one of its previous lenses on its default carousel (basically meaning it was promoted by the LA-based tech company). That's a highly sought-after prize for app developers, providing free advertising and much-needed publicity.

As for the future of ShowMeVirtual, it has plans to progress beyond localized apps. "We plan to get into everything from games to more practical purposes, like a virtual fitting room or where you can try on glasses," according to Renz. "We want to make a big jump from traditional AR/VR".

The software is live and ready to be used. You can access the lens by going to this link directly.

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