Great Job, Internet!: There’s some impressive technology behind ridiculous Snapchat filters

Snapchat calls them “lenses.” Its users call them “filters.” But everyone knows what these applications do: They add flower crowns, bunny ears, horn-rimmed glasses, virtual makeup, and other accessories to images of people’s faces in real time. But how on earth does this technology work, where did it come from, and what does it ultimately all mean to humanity? These are among the questions raised and answered by “How Snapchat’s Filters Work,” a new episode of Vox‘s informative web series Observatory by Joss Fong and Dion Lee. As Fong learns, the story behind Snapchat’s filters is partially obscured in mystery, due to the machinations of corporate politics. But some facts can be clearly established. The engineering technology behind these “augmented reality” filters comes from a company called Looksery, acquired by Snapchat for a cool $150 million last September. “Are virtual bunny ears really worth $150 million …

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