FACEBOOK PORTAL DEVICES GET A ‘HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD’ CROSSOVER

Facebook’s video calling device Portal is getting a ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ crossover that will allow users to dress up as characters from the play using augmented reality technology.

Facebook Portal devices use AR masks that transform users into a character. These masks are powered by Facebook’s Spark AR technology, will also match your skin tone. “Callers can fully embody the characters thanks to real-time skin sampling that matches the 3D character to your unique skin tone before converting it into an AR mask for seamless integration,” Facebook said.

Anyone can use the new feature by tapping ‘Curtain Call’ in the effects tray on Portal. You can then select one of three locations from the menu to visit: Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, or the Edge of the Forbidden Forest.

The feature works with Portal-to-Portal video calls for users in the US and UK. And if you don’t have a Portal device, “fans on Instagram and Facebook can still interact with the AR masks via each app’s camera and share video and photos via Stories,” according to the company. When the lights come up, each person on the call will embody a character from the show with a unique spell assigned randomly. Simply nod your head or tap the screen to cast it and watch as your friends marvel at the magic.

Facebook has been ramping up its augmented reality efforts. It announced last September that creators would be able to make AR effects for Messenger and Portal in 2021.

The company is investing heavily in AR and VR devices, with nearly 10,000 employees reportedly working in its Reality Labs division.

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