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The mirages themselves, though, aren't just static objects; if someone has created a mirage of a hashtag, for instance, then tapping on that hashtag will launch Twitter.
To add a "mirage," you point your camera at something and take a photo; the app then allows you to adorn the object with text, drawings, 3D emoji, even photos or animated GIFs.
"Where we interact with each other on the internet, whether it's on a page or in chat, is kind of this representation of a non-space," Staake says.
"We're very interested in the idea the Internet oozing into reality a bit more." (Staake has blurred those lines before; he directed the viral meta-video for Young Thug's "Wyclef Jean", and has created numerous VR projects.)Despite its i OS exclusivity, Mirage wasn't built with Apple's ARKit; Staake and Piemonte came up with the original prototype eight months ago, and scaled it up themselves. "but it's a special use case." Whereas ARKit apps react to the user's surroundings to perform a generalized function, Mirage is far more context-specific: And if you're worried about a cityscape clogged with the AR equivalent of pop-up ads and ghost sites, don't be.
Now, nearly a decade later, the two are working together again—but this time, instead of helping you get around, they want to use the power of augmented reality to appreciate the hidden things around you.
That's the idea behind Mirage, an i OS app the duo and a small team just released.