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New Snapchat Lens Creates AR Safe Zone To Promote Social Distancing

If you must leave your home, make sure to practice safe social distancing.

Though it may not seem like it based on the packed beaches and crowded parks, we’re currently dealing with a global pandemic the likes of which we’ve never seen. Despite multiple warnings from government health officials around the world, a surprisingly large portion of the public seem unfazed by recent developments and committed to gathering in large groups with little to no protection.

To help encourage social distancing and proper hygiene, Snap Inc. has teamed up with the World Health Organization on a pair of educational Snapchat Lenses they hope will help flatten the curve over the coming months.

The first of these new Lenses, My Social Distance, uses AR technology to create a virtual circle around the user. According to Snap, the digital barrier features a radius of approximately 3 feet (1 meter), the minimum safe distance as recommended by the World Health Organization. This circle follows the user as they move throughout their environment; if someone steps within the circle, the color changes from green to red, at which point you need to tell that person to back the fudge up.

According to Daily Mail, an official spokesperson for Snap warned that the Lens is designed to raise awareness and may not reflect the official safety guidelines recommended by other organizations. The UK government, for instance, recommends citizens remain at least 6.6 feet, (2 meters) apart at all times.

The second Lens features a handful of colorful animations reminding you to stay at home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and refrain from touching your face. Both of these Lenses include links leading back to the official WHO website which offers even more tips on staying safe.

Last month Snap announced the launch of a handful of new COVID-19 related tools, programs, and partnerships, including Here For You, a new feature for Snapchat that connects users searching for topics such as ” mental health, anxiety, depression, stress, suicidal thoughts, grief and bullying” with helpful resources from expert partners. You can check out a full list of the offerings here.

With many social media platforms currently facing a flood of COVID-19 misinformation, it’s encouraging to see Snap not only combat the spread of disingenuous Lenses, but provide their own factually-correct ones as well.

Feature Image Credit: Snap Inc.

About the Scout

Kyle Melnick

Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.

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