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Drop Spider-Man and others into your photos with new Holo AR app

The newly launched Holo augmented reality app allows you to place 3D moving images of people and animals in your photos and videos.

Published onJune 23, 2017

Want to “prove” to your family and friends that you hang out with Spider-Man? A newly launched augmented reality app promises to make that happen . . . sort of.

Holo, from developer 8i, is now available to download for free from the Google Play Store. It’s designed to use your smartphone camera to place full 3D moving images of people and animals into the real world. You can then take still pictures or videos of these AR characters, which blend seemlessly into their environments.

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The team behind Holo previously launched a similar app that was made specifically for phones that used Google’s Tango AR technology. However, this new app can be used by any Android smartphone or tablet (there’s an iOS version as well). The app is launching with a pretty huge media tie-in. You can place images of Spider-Man in your images or clips, or at least the version that’s going to be in the upcoming Marvel Studios movie Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland.

We did a quick hands-on test with the Holo app and found it pretty easy to use. All you have to do is point your phone camera and then tap on the Holo app. It offers a variety of different people and animal animations to choose from, including several from the new movie Spider-Man. You just pick one and you can have the web slinger, or maybe a tiger or dog, magically appear in your home or office. You can use your phone’s touchscreen to quickly move, rotate, or resize your Holo character so it can look just right in your photo or video. After you take the image with your newly added virtual person or animal, you can save it or share it on your social network, text it to friends or email it.

The technology behind the Holo app is certainly impressive. It shows that even though the Tango hardware technology has not made it into most people’s hands, third-party developers like 8i have used it as the starting point for making cool AR apps that work with any phone.

The developer plans to keep updating its in-app store with more characters and effects that can be added to your Holo-based images and videos. While the app and all of its characters are currently free to download, we would imagine that the ultimate goal is to offer paid Holo characters in the future. In the meantime, we found this app to be fun to try out. At the very least, it’s cool to put Spider-Man in your living room.

If you have tried the Holo app, what are your initial impressions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!