Samsung recently introduced AR Emojis with the new Galaxy S9 and S9+, but what are they, and how does this technology work? We're here to explain...

Apple Animoji lets you bring emoji to life thanks to facial tracking tech.

Before we launch into AR and Animojis, let’s start with the basics: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two quite different forms of tech.

While the acronyms sound pretty similar, each offers a different experience for users. But how exactly do they differ? Well, we’re so glad you asked…

VR vs AR

We covered VR 101 in a previous post, but essentially, with VR, you’re immersed in a completely digital world via a head mounted display (HMD). The only world you see when using VR, is a digital recreation – look to the left, look to the right, everything you see around you is generated by computer.

AR is different in that it adds digital elements on top of your physical environment – like a layer – via an electronic device such as your smartphone. These digital elements are designed for educational, informational, or entertainment purposes.

Apple’s Animojis and Samsung’s AR Emojis, for example, seek to entertain the masses.

How do Apple Animojis and Samsung’s AR Emojis work?

The key here is a camera and some very clever software. Fortunately, Apple and Samsung have included both of these in the new iPhone X,  Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.

While the cameras are quite different (more on that later), the premise is the same. Each captures a digital representation of the world within your sight.

However, when it comes to creating AR content, that’s when the camera tech truly shines. It scans each frame for a face, picking up on pre-programmed data points such as a nose, eyes, mouth etc. and employs software to create a digital likeness of its subject. This becomes your Animoji or AR Emoji and hilarity ensues…

Samsung’s AR Emoji feature lets you create a digital version of yourself.

The differences between Animoji and AR Emoji

While fairly similar at first glance, there are differences in the way Apple and Samsung go about collecting your facial data and creating AR images that may not seem so obvious until you know your stuff.

iPhone X comes equipped with a multi-camera array that tracks every facial movement. This is also the camera used for Face ID security, so it’s quite precise in picking up your movements. These movements are used to add motion to set of pre-existing emojis in Apple’s library. This is what allows you to make it look like the smelly poo is singing, the cat is winking, or dog is laughing, based on your movements.

Conversely, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ make use of a single front-facing camera to capture your facial data, then use clever software to figure out the rest. Samsung’s AR creations try to digitally represent you, with your face, your hair, your skin tone – it’s very much you. But if it does get it slightly wrong, or you want to enhance your AR Emoji, you can also go ahead and make the edits manually.

Here’s MacRumors take on the two:

Will you Animoji or AR Emoji?

Both are bundles of fun to play around with, and send on to your friends. So, will you opt for an augmented emoji with your facial expressions and actions, or an emoji avatar unique to you? Just know, whichever one you opt for, it will be a bunch of laughs.

Interested in knowing more about the Samsung S9 camera? Check out the cutting-edge camera tech, here.
Discover even more mobile entertainment… in our our monthly app wrap-up for March.

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