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Snap's newest AR filter makes floors full of lava (or water)

Ground-sensing AR lenses are arriving to turn your streets to shimmering, molten... who knows what.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein

Same scene -- unaugmented, and with AR lava and water added.


Snapchat's augmented reality Lenses are already able to recognize landmarks, transform faces and bodies and play games. A new set of ground-sensing filters are going to make landscapes start looking weird, too.

Trying out the water effect in our office.

Scott Stein/CNET

I took a look at two of Snap's new Lenses, one that makes floors full of lava and one that makes everything look flooded. The effect stretches out pretty far, but not infinitely, and moving around causes the effect to redraw in new areas. The water effect was particularly effective: It looks like a weird office mirage.

Ground segmentation Lenses, as Snapchat refers to them, will be things that other people in Snap's Lens Studio will be able to build on top of. So, you can probably expect AR rivers of cheese, fields of mice, giant screaming mouths on your carpet or maybe whole little mini-cities. Brands transforming your carpet. Color-changing rainbow walkways or a yellow brick road. I could go on.

Snap and Facebook's Instagram AR effects are already building large libraries of community- and influencer-created filters. Eventually, these AR tools are probably going to extend to blanket all things and eventually move into AR glasses. For now, look at your phone... and the floor.