Users of New App Can Interact Using Augmented Reality

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. integrate / ˈɪn tɪˌgreɪt / (v) – to combine

    The award-winning game successfully integrated storytelling, graphics, and gameplay into its concept.

  2. in the flesh / ɪn ðə flɛʃ / (idiom) – in person

    I have seen my favorite artists perform only on television, but I’d love to see them in the flesh.

  3. filter / ˈfɪl tər / (n) – a feature that produces special effects

    The new app has filters that brighten a person’s complexion.

  4. fall into the wrong hands / fɔl ˈɪn tu ðə rɔŋ hændz / (idiom) – for something to be found and controlled by a person who might use it for negative purposes

    Please secure the document well; we wouldn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.

  5. high-profile / haɪ ˈproʊ faɪl / (adj) – attracting a lot of public attention or interest

    The new app got the attention of some high-profile tech companies.


Read the text below.

Octi [OK-tee], a new social networking app, lets users interact with each other using augmented reality (AR).

Launched last January, Octi employs facial recognition technology in addition to AR. To activate Octi, users need to run the app and point their phone’s camera at another person. Octi users can add each other as friends or send invitations to non-Octi users.

Once Octi recognizes a user, the app creates a digital belt of content, including photos, videos, and music playlists, using AR. AR integrates virtual content into a live camera feed. As a result, the content appears to be part of the physical environment.

According to Justine Fuisz [fweez], Octi’s CEO, the app was developed so people can spend time together and use their phones to connect, communicate, and express themselves. Octi is unlike other AR-heavy apps, such as Snapchat, because it encourages interaction in the flesh. Features like stickers and filters are only available if users are physically together.

A cybersecurity expert expressed concern that Octi’s technology could be used for scams if it fell into the wrong hands. The app also raises privacy concerns since strangers’ names could pop up if users point the camera at them. In response, Octi said that users can use any username and profile photo of their choice.

Currently, the app has already raised funds, which amount to $12 million, from some high-profile investors. Fuisz said that in the future, Octi can collaborate with payment companies, dating apps, and other social platforms. Octi also hopes to partner with third-party app developers who can create content for the app to increase the number of its users.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you use Octi despite the concerns raised? Why or why not?
• If you were the owner of Octi, how would you ensure users’ privacy? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think social networking apps promote genuine interactions or connections among users? Why or why not?
• If you were to design a social networking app, what features of this app would let users interact or connect with each other? Explain.