Facebook launches camera platform for developers to encourage AR


Zuckerberg said new phone-based applications might let you create a three-dimensional scene from a single two-dimensional photo or splatter the walls of your house with colorful digital art. So, during this week's F8 conference, he revealed more details about this ambitious 10-year plan.

Zuckerberg said that it will take a while to roll some of these experiences out into the world, but developers can get started now, with a closed Beta version of its AR Studio software now launching.

By "camera", Zuckerberg really means the camera button (which allows users to directly access a mobile device's actual camera) and related photo processing tools in Facebook and related apps.

The Facebook Spaces experience is now available to anyone in possession of Oculus Rift VR goggles and its Touch controllers. Virtual and augmented reality can completely replace them, thus providing us with more space in our homes for other activities.

Zuckerberg's grand vision sees augmented reality as an economic equaliser.

Relatively few of Facebook's 1.9 billion members are using Oculus's VR headset, which sells for about $US500 (or about $1,100 in Australia) and requires an expensive computer to make it work.

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"The big takeaway, put simply, is that Facebook has copied Snapchat as far as it can, and now it's going to try and outpace them", said Molly Wood, senior tech correspondent.

"In order to create better tools, first we need an open platform where any developer in the world can build for augmented reality without first having to build their own camera", he said.

Zuckerberg showed the demonstration portraying a lot of fantastic AR effects. Facebook's new virtual reality app will make it feel like you're in the same room as friends, or on the same beach, garden or park - the new VR app can transport your avatar anywhere. The number of artificial-intelligence chatbots on Messenger is also growing, so you'll be able to chat with more businesses. And the new aspect of the app has much to do with the introduction of new bots like Smart Replies.

He described the previous rollout of camera functionality across all of Facebook's apps as "act one". Facebook is also trying to revive the QR codes.

Another new addition to the Facebook Messenger extensions is Apple Music.

Messenger head David Marcus claims the app has become the de facto "white pages" of messaging, since people can find and chat with friends without knowing their phone number. "Those glasses will offer VR, AR and everything in between and we'll use them all day".