The world’s largest social network, Facebook, has announced a new software, which can be used by developers for building a variety of augmented reality (AR) experiences for Facebook in-app camera, rendering it possible for adding 3-D objects & effects to images. Facebook’s F8 developer conference has given several examples that are similar to filters available via Snapchat’s Lenses feature, including ones that associate animated effects to pictures. The platform is available currently for developers in closed beta test.
Facebook is finally on the verge of making AR technology popular. A grand vision was laid out for augmented reality by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, at the conference. He imagines a time, when a person is sitting in the living room wearing AR-enabled lenses, and if the person gets a hankering for a game such as chess, the set can be easily made to appear on real table in front of the person. Perhaps one will go on a vacation in Rome, discern directions, through AR-enabled lenses, overlaid on the street, or, harness information on historical landmarks. One can even skin his/her house with virtual version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry from the Harry Potter movie for occasions such as children’s birthdays.
Although it may seem witless to utilize AR technology for things such as enhancing photos, or rainbow streaming out through one’s eyes, stated Zuckerberg, it still provides us the ability to depict the things mattering to us on daily basis. Zuckerberg is not the first techie in pushing augmented reality. AR technology has been a part of mobile applications over several years, provided with ever-improving processors, wireless networks, and sensors. For example, Yelp had released, in 2009, a feature in-built in its app which let the users to hold their phone up and visualize floating details related to nearby businesses. But, the technology seemed to grab the chance of cracking mainstream after the advent of the mobile game built on the concept of AR technology- Pokemon Go.
Facebook is now illuminating the future of augmented reality by encouraging developers in building all possible experiences that incorporate AR technology, and by pushing the technology. Around two billion users use Facebook, giving it an enormous hit among developers. While Facebook concentrates on transforming the smartphone into a main window to augment world and provokes the developers to follow suit, the company states that this role is somewhat temporary. Referring to smartphone presumably, Zuckerberg stated that it is not because they prefer primitive tools that they use them, but because better tools are yet to be created. He expects that people will someday demand for glasses, or, contact lenses which ‘feel normal’ but are capable of overlaying digital objects onto the real world.
Facebook’s size & might is not capable of guaranteeing success for augmented reality. Although the company had depicted dedication in increasing the prevalence of virtual reality with its acquisition of Oculus- the VR headset manufacturer, the VR technology has yet not gained much prevalence among the consumers. Zuckerberg stressed on the fact that developing experiences through AR technology will consume several years. He estimates that about a decade would be required for these technologies to become general. Yet, augmented reality, over time, will become an important technology, changing the way of using smartphones.