Snapchat wants you to watch a music video on a Dorito

The chips involved in this delicious use of AI and AR aren't computer chips.
An off-brand triangular chip reportedly works too. Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

There are three components that come together to make Super Bowl Sunday one of America’s most beloved televised events: the game, the snacks, and the ads. 

This year, Megan Thee Stallion could be dominating two of those pillars by debuting a new music video for her song “Flamin’ Hottie” on the surface of a Dorito using augmented reality (AR) from Snapchat lenses, according to Fast Company. In the music video, which will also be viewable on a Cheeto, Megan Thee Stallion samples from Salt-N-Pepa’s iconic “Push It,” to create an ode to the spicy snacks, featuring lines like “I’m all that and a bag of Flamin’ Hot chips,” according to Rolling Stone.

It’s a partnership that Megan Thee Stallion tells POPSUGAR is a perfect match because she already enjoys Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos “all the time.”

To enter the (literally) cheesy experience, all fans will need to do is hold up their snack in front of their phone’s camera and Snap’s specially trained AR lens. From there, the algorithm will recognize the surface (aka, the snack) and transform it into a mini-movie screen for the video, when viewed through your phone’s screen. It’s the same principle as how Snapchat recognizes your face and applies a filter on top of it to alter the appearance. Whether you twist or turn the snack, the video should follow. It’s an effect that Snap achieved through working with outside companies, says Fast Company, to train a machine learning algorithm to recognize the unique curve or triangular shape of the Frito-Lay snacks. 

[Related: Researchers used AI to explain complex science. Results were mixed.]

As with other types of machine learning algorithms, teaching it how to recognize the delicacies required feeding it thousands of smartphone images of the foods, according to Fast Company, to ensure it could recognize the grub in the wild.

But even after all the algorithm’s hard work and training, it still isn’t that good at telling a Dorito from, say, a generic chip, Nina Mishkin, director of creative strategy at Snap, told Fast Company.

While edible AR is novel for Snap, the company is no stranger to bringing AR experiences to life. You might remember the company’s viral “dancing hot dog” AR lens from 2017 or used their “Landmarks” lenses which overlay animations (like the Eiffel Tower popping like a champagne bottle) over geo-specific locations. According to a 2019 Fast Company profile of the company’s co-founder and CTO, Bobby Murphy, AR experiences are poised to play a big role in Snap’s game plan in the coming years. 

Listen to the song, below: