Facebook’s F8 conference took place yesterday during which the company announced the launch of new software platforms that mix augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. This leap in the direction of interactive software can already be seen in the camera app and is designed to eventually become compatible with AR hardware such as eyeglasses.
However, until AR eyeglasses become a common household gadget, Mark Zuckerberg has stated that “the first augmented reality platform that becomes mainstream isn’t going to be glasses, it’s going to be cameras” and while many have accused the social media site of mindlessly copying Snapchat in terms of its features, Zuckerberg has stressed the importance of building an open platform so that developers can create thousands of effects rather than just an available few.
Facebook’s augmented reality Camera Effects platform
Developers will now be able to apply for access to the closed beta of the AR Studio tool which will allow them to use location, object recognition and depth detection to create their own effects. At F8, Zuckerberg demonstrated this by showing sharks swimming around a cereal bowl. The camera panned around while the sharks stayed in place. With 3D effects, developers will be able to build 3D environments from a 2D image and this was demonstrated with an image of a small room being filled with bouncing balls and skittles.
At the same time, anyone can use the Frame Studio to create and upload simple overlaid image filters that will appear in Facebook Camera. You don’t need to have any knowledge of coding to do this, simply upload an image and the News Feed posts will give you credit. Be aware, though, that no branding or advertising will be allowed.
To get started, all you have to do is swipe to your camera from the main News Feed in the Facebook app. You should then see a message about the new effects and you will be able to overlay a number of different visuals over your photo before sharing.
Facebook Spaces to connect in VR
Available for the Oculus Rift and Touch, Facebook have also launched a place where you can meet with your friends in virtual reality. With Facebook Spaces, users can create their own virtual reality identity from a photo they have uploaded onto Facebook. After that, they can invite their online friends, play with 360 videos and photos, draw 3D objects, make video calls and share photos of your VR self on the site.