"Invisible" phone/ wallpaper
June 10, 2024 2:19 AM   Subscribe

There's got to be a non-scammy app that feeds the camera live to the background image, right? Android.

I won't link to the scammy ones, including the one that I clicked through to the payment page before nope-ing out.

What I want is the camera to feed live video to the background image on a phone. An example of what I want. Even if it doesn't work as depicted, is there an app that does it anyway (live camera to wallpaper)?
posted by porpoise to Technology (6 answers total)
This is on Fdroid (a repository of free open source android apps) and might do what you want. I've never tried it though and it was last updated in 2016, so ymmv.
posted by trig at 3:21 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Probably doesn’t need to be said, but just in case—every example in that image but one or two show the user’s hand in the wallpaper. This is a physical impossibility for multiple reasons.
posted by ejs at 6:44 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]

The keyword seems to be "transparent", as in "transparent wallpaper", transparent camera, etc. However, I don't see anything free, unless it's ancient, as the first version of which came out more than 10 years ago (back in 2012)
posted by kschang at 8:07 AM on June 10

Those are all extremely faked screenshots, yeah. Your camera sensor isn't going to "see" your hand unless it's in front of it, and if it is, it'll most likely just look like a dark blob. I don't think it's possible to get the exact look you're going for. (Maybe some home screen replacement has that option, but not any I know about, and that would only work for your home screen, not the lock screen nor inside any apps.)

The app that trig links doesn't even quite get there; what it does is overlay a semi-transparent image from the camera on top of the UI that Android is already displaying. That may be more useful to you, but it isn't what you asked for.

As you've observed, even if this is an app that exists, pretty much everything that claims to do this is overrun with ads and likely malware, and I wouldn't risk installing any of the apps I'm seeing in this category without a strong recommendation from a reliable source, which I'm not finding.
posted by Aleyn at 4:16 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Even more terminal to the concept than just the obviously faked hands in all of those images, go ahead and try this out yourself manually before putting any more effort into trying to find an app.

Take a picture, and, without moving the phone too much, view that photo fullscreen. First thing you'll realize is that you'll need to zoom in a ton on the image. Second thing you'll realize is that each of your eyes requires a totally different reframing to make the illusion work. Third thing you might realize is that the zoom/reframing required, even if you're willing to close one eye, changes heavily based on the distance between your eye and the phone screen.

Which is to say, I don't think any app can possibly simulate this automatically for you.

(I started thinking about using the front-facing camera to estimate the distance between you and the screen, but I'm not so sure that's likely to work out, and I doubt any of these apps are even attempting that.)
posted by nobody at 4:40 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

(Wait, sorry -- apart from the question title, it sounds like you might not care about the illusion aspect of this at all -- just, for its own sake, looking for something that'll pipe the unaltered live camera feed to your wallpaper. Adding this note in case it helps redirect further answers.)
posted by nobody at 4:51 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

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