Facebook has claimed that the smartphone - and not its own Oculus virtual reality headset - will form the basis of the first mainstream augmented reality (AR) platform. And the company is looking to attract developers in order to kick-off its efforts.
Opening the company's annual F8 developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will open up its AR platform to all-comers.
AR Studio, which comprises machine-learning-powered face tracking, sensor data awareness and scripting APIs, enable developers to make use of Facebook's computing power to create experiences AR experiences without having to invest in the tech themselves, in turn giving Facebook a lead over Snapchat when it comes to mobile AR.
"I am confident now we are going to push this augmented-reality platform forward," Zuckerberg said, adding that the technology would eventually be incorporated into eyeglasses. "We are going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented-reality platform."
Zuckerberg imagines AR experiences breaking down into three major categories: augmenting objects in the physical world with additional information, layering virtual objects onto reality like a board game or a television, and enhancing objects that are already there with extra effects.
As if keen to ensure its users never go outdoors, Facebook also on Tuesday announced Spaces VR, a new app for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch that will allow friends to socialise virtually.
The app, available to download now in beta, lets users create a virtual version of themselves (for some reason) that can then enter socialise with your other friends sad enough to give it a go.
In this fake world users can play games, share photos, take a selfie, or do a video call with someone in the 'real' world.
Or, actually engage with the real world by going out like a normal person.
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