by Elton Gomes
Facebook has confirmed that its next big project in the hardware sector will be augmented reality (AR) glasses.
Speaking at TechCrunch’s AR/VR event, Facebook’s head of augmented reality, Ficus Kirkpatrick confirmed the development. Kirkpatrick said that Facebook is looking forward to making the AR glasses a reality.
“Yeah! Well of course we’re working on it,” Kirkpatrick said at TechCrunch’s AR/VR event, TechCrunch reported. “We are building hardware products. We’re going forward on this . . . We want to see those glasses come into reality, and I think we want to play our part in helping to bring them there.”
The AR glasses could be Facebook’s opportunity to own a mainstream computing device on which its software could run after a decade of being indebted to smartphones built, controlled, and taxed by Apple and Google.
Facebook first announced the initiative in 2017 after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company wanted to build the glasses. However, he admitted that Facebook didn’t have the right science or technology to build it.
What do know about the AR glasses
A Business Insider report from 2017 shed more light on Facebook’s plans to develop AR glasses. According to the report, a patent application for a “waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner” was published by three members from the advanced research division of Facebook’s virtual-reality subsidiary, Oculus.
According to the filing, the display “may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements” and “may be included in an eye-wear comprising a frame and a display assembly that presents media to a user’s eyes.”
Business Insider further reported that the smart glasses being developed by Oculus will use a waveguide display to project light onto the wearer’s eyes instead of a more traditional display. The smart glasses would also be able to display images, video, and it would be functional with connected speakers or headphones to play audio when worn.
What problems could Facebook face
The problem with Facebook’s AR glasses is that it could run into some privacy concerns that people had over putting a Portal camera inside their homes.
Although VR headsets generate a fictional world, AR has to collect data about real-world surroundings, which could raise some serious privacy concerns. It could raise fears about Facebook surveilling not just our homes but everything we do, and that the company is using that data to power ad targeting and content recommendations.
Who could be Facebook’s competition
There surely is no dearth of competition in the AR sector. AR startups like Magic Leap and Thalmic Labs have already begun releasing their first headsets and glasses.
Microsoft is considered a leader in the field thanks to its early HoloLens product, while Google Glass is still seems like the go-to product for many. Apple has acquired AR hardware developers like Akonia Holographics and Vrvana to push development of its own headsets.
Battling all of these companies, Facebook will have to make sure that it has the best-in-class gadget that offers new services.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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