At the F8 conference in San Jose today, Mark Zuckerberg introduced the opening keynote speech for the conference, which contained an announcement for a new augmented reality (AR) platform.
Zuckerberg spoke in general terms about the potential of AR, such as it’s power to creating new things, get more people involved in the arts and create new communities. He said that he and the team at Facebook were still expecting AR glasses and, eventually, contact lenses that overlay all sort of things, like an AR chessboard to set down on a real-world table for an impromptu chess game..
Three important use cases were outlined, consisting of the ability to display information like notifications, add digital objects to the real world, and enhance existing objects. As Zuckerberg notied, smartphones are already doing this and Facebook see this as beginning of a new platform. Facebook are going to use the camera part of the Facebook app to build a new platform for augmented reality by implementing camera effects. Standard effects already used on other apps such as face masks, style transfers etc. will be available from the start. Users will be able to create their own since it will be an open platform. The new AR platform will be launched as open Beta today.
Facebook hopes to take further advantage of developing technologies such as Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) which allows the camera to plot out where an object is in the real world so AR can seems to be placed accurately in the ‘real world’. Additionally, Facebook are working on technology that allows the conversion 2D stills mages into 3D representations that can be modified with AR. The object recognition that will be introduced to the app means that the camera can ‘recognise’ the size, depth and location of the object so the object can be manipulated within the AR space.
Zuckerberg believes there will be a new genre of AR games. Like a tower defence game that allows you to hit the table to ‘squash’ enemies. At the Facebook offices, AR has been used to create art, such as a seemingly blank wall can have beautiful art on it when viewed in AR.
Future application updates will allow users to do things such as leave notes for your friends, like notes to suggest the best meal at the restaurant, or leave a mark on your preferred table at a pub, ot put a message on the fridge door for your spouse.
Facebook are still aiming towards a goal of making AR glasses that are comfortable and stylish as well as functional.
VRFocus will continue to report on the new coming from the F8 conference.