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Location: Home / Article / Facebook Puts a Spell on Portal Devices & Mobile Apps with ...

Facebook Puts a Spell on Portal Devices & Mobile Apps with ...

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Augmented reality technology is often likened to magic powers, so it is fitting that a new AR experience featuring the Harry Potter franchise uses the newest AR tricks from


and its

Spark AR



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

returning to Broadway this fall, Facebook is bringing some magic from the wizarding world to its


devices via a new augmented reality experience called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Curtain Call.

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The Curtain Call experience, which is accessible through Portal's effects tray, transforms users into characters from the play, with three virtual locations — Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, and the Edge of the Forbidden Forest — replacing their video backgrounds. In addition, each character comes with a random "magic spell," which is activated with a head nod (or a screen tap on Portals with touchscreens).

Image via


The Curtain Call effect uses the new

Multipeer API

for Spark AR, which synchronizes AR effects between multiple participants in video calls.

Also noteworthy,

multi-class segmentation

enables the experience to sample skin tone in real-time to match virtual masks with their physical beings.

Image by Harry Potter on Stage US/


Alas, Facebook Portal devices aren't nearly as ubiquitous as smartphones. Luckily, the AR effects are also available via Facebook (




) and Instagram (




) apps, with Albus Potter and Moaning Myrtle available now. Each effect includes its own magic spell that is triggered by tapping on the screen.

To access the AR effects via Instagram, search for "cursedchildus" in the effects browser or navigate to the

Harry Potter on Stage US

Instagram page and tap the effects tab.

Images by Tommy Palladino/

Next Reality

Facebook has also added new "choose your own adventure" stories to its

Story Time

app for Portal, namely

Build a Story

, where players choose characters, settings, and plot of their adventures, and

Extra Ordinary Cafe

, which is based around players' menu choices over a multi-course meal.

Image via


But Harry Potter is the star of the new additions here. Of course, this is not the first time the Harry Potter franchise has made its way into augmented reality.

Most notably, Niantic followed up its hit AR game

Pokémon GO


Harry Potter Wizards Unite

. Facebook rival


celebrated Harry Potter's birthday with a

Bitmoji AR Lens

. And

Magic Leap

and AT&T joined forces to offer a

Fantastic Beasts

AR experience for fans in Chicago.

We've even seen a

Harry Potter photo printer

with AR magic powers. And, as long as tech companies continue to come up with new AR capabilities that rival magic spells, this won't be the last time we are treated to some immersive Harry Potter magic.

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