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Augmented reality is a promising new technology that could one day have a tremendous impact on our daily lives. But it’s not there yet, and part of the reason why has to do with practicality. An app like the one highlighted here provides a new way of thinking about AR and could lead to a whole new category of apps that leverage the tech in a totally different way.
Most conventional augmented reality applications involve plastering digital artifacts into the real world – for example, visualizing how a new table might look in the kitchen by digitally adding it or hunting imaginary Pokemon in the real world. But at least one developer is working in the opposite direction.

Cyril Diagne on Twitter recently demonstrated an app that allows users to essentially copy objects from the real world and paste them into a digital document. In the example shown, objects like a potted plant, a notebook and a shirt are all “copied” onto a phone then “pasted” onto a computer.

The prototype app’s latency currently checks in around 2.5 seconds for copy procedures and roughly four seconds on paste tasks although with some optimizations, these times could be reduced significantly.

The dev said the “secret sauce” here is BASNet which handles object detection and background removal.

Best yet, Cyril Diagne has even added the experimental code to GitHub so anyone can download it and perhaps even tweak it for better performance. And who knows, perhaps this could be the catalyst that the industry needs to help AR go mainstream.