Shazam for the Skies
Announcing the Enigma Augmented Reality Lens
From buzzing drones to flitting birds and soaring airplanes, the skies above us are increasingly crowded. We receive thousands of reports from our users who spot unusual objects in the sky. Many of our users are eager for us to help them identify what they are seeing. It is no surprise that a vast majority of these sightings turn out to be identifiable. What is sorely needed is a tool to sort the signal from the noise.
Today, we are excited to release an Augmented Reality lens to serve as a noise reduction tool. By allowing users in the field to filter out identifiable objects in real time, we can start to reduce the number of identifiable objects submitted to us. That will help users focus on submitting interesting anomalies. You can download the lens in our iOS app here.
Shazam for the Skies
Our new AR camera lens is a solution for deconfliction. It allows you to point your phone at the sky and receive real-time information about known objects. In the first version that is released today, we are testing out one data type — satellite data. Imagine you're gazing at the night sky and suddenly spot a string of lights moving synchronously. Your first thought might be, "Are those UFOs?" With the AR lens in the Enigma app, you can point your iPhone up and identify that what you're seeing is a string of Starlink satellites.
How it Works
The camera on the Enigma app acts like a magic window that you can look through to discover known objects in the sky. The app taps into satellite telemetry published by governments and private space companies. The Enigma app calculates where these objects are and their positions relative to you. Then, by correlating hardware sensor data from your phone with the telemetry of the objects, we are able to create accurate positional representations using augmented reality software. The satellites are represented graphically and overlaid over the images from your phone's camera preview, causing them to appear “virtually” in front of your eyes. We also identify the satellite type and name for you.
The AR feature is a powerful educational tool, providing scientists and our global base of users with insights about the objects they see. In coming releases, we will further empower users by adding data layers for other objects. This will include stars and planets, planes, helicopters, balloons, drones, and recent rocket launches. Suggestions for data types and sources are always welcome, send your thoughts to us [email protected]
The lens is available in the iOS app today. We look forward to sharing more AR news with you soon.