One way or another, people will find new ways to express their thoughts or ideas using all the tools that developers like to cook up. When it comes to the world of animated three-dimensional avatars, for example, we have Apple's Animoji, Samsung's AR Emoji, and a bunch of other OEM-proprietary solutions that look interesting. But what if your phone's manufacturer failed to include this new and important feature, don't worry! Microsoft's cross-platform keyboard app, SwiftKey, has taken up the mantle to create Puppets, now available in beta.

As with cheesy tools of its ilk, the gist here is to create video clips up to 30 seconds long, only instead of having it be a straight-up selfie video, your facial movements — head, mouth, eyes, and all else — are mapped onto one of five animal characters: a panda, a cat, a baby dinosaur, a dog, and an owl. You may choose to leave in the sound you recorded or mute it, then share the clip on all the platforms you'd like. Sorry, there's no native still capture button, so you'll have to export the clip and do a screenshot after the fact.

The interface for Puppets

As you might suspect, artificial intelligence plays a role in making Puppets possible on a regular 'ol non-depth-sensing camera by utilizing deep neural learning from motion samples from thousands of volunteers.

Some might ask if we really needed another one of these features that no one uses anyways and takes up space on our phones. Others still could just decide to waste an afternoon chatting with their best friends solely through Puppets. Hey, it might happen.

The feature is in the SwiftKey Beta Android app right now — tap the + icon at the top-left corner of the keyboard and look for the panda. You can download the app through the Play Store or APK Mirror and learn more about the technology through a white paper we've linked below.

SwiftKey Beta
SwiftKey Beta
Developer: SwiftKey
Price: Free
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  • Kieron