Facebook releases AR Camera Effects platform, & VR Facebook Spaces

At Facebook’s developer conference F8 today, the company announced its new software platforms that mix augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

The company is taking a leap into a new realm of interactions, and they’ve started by sharing a lot of them today. Some of the new software can already be seen inside of Facebook’s camera app starting today.

New live 3D camera effects for Facebook

Available today, the official Facebook app now supports adding live AR effects in the camera app. Shown off on stage, different artists from around the world will be able to contribute different effects and styles to the camera.

To get started, users can swipe over to their camera from the main Facebook feed. From here, they’ll see some messages about the new effects added in. Users will be able overlay masks and different visuals to their photos before sharing.

Facebook Camera AR 3D Effects

Facebook’s new augmented reality Camera Effects Platform

Launching today in a closed beta, Facebook believes its Camera Effects platform will be able to utilize smartphones as the next step in augmented reality. Mark Zuckerberg took to the F8 stage to explain that phone camera’s are the “primitive versions” of the glasses or contact lens AR experiences many hope to eventually achieve. Facebook announced that its new closed beta AR platform will focus on the device’s camera to build out this new system.

The AR platform will rely on three key aspects in helping developers build out software: Precise Location, 3D Effects, and Object Recognition.

Facebook's Camera Effects Platform - Precise Location

Using Precise Location, the AR platform will be able to place different imagery atop the camera’s viewfinder live. Zuckerberg showed an example of sharks swimming around a cereal bowl, and the camera panning around while the sharks stay in place.

Facebook's Camera Effects Platform - 3D Effects

With 3D Effects, the platform can build out limited 3D environments using a 2D photo. On stage Zuckerberg showed an image of a small room, and how he was able to pan about and drop in bouncing balls and fill the room with Skittles.

Facebook's Camera Effects Platform - Object Recognition

The AR platform’s Object Recognition can use real-time visuals to understand objects within a space. Showing a photo of a plant, a coffee mug, and a wine bottle, the platform was able to detect and apply applicable imagery to the objects. The plant got a thunderstorm overhead that “watered” it, and the wine was able to get a small information card detailing it’s price and origins.

Connecting in VR with Facebook Spaces

Launching today and available for the Oculus Rift and Touch, Facebook has created a place to meet with friends in virtual reality. Dubbed Facebook Spaces, users will be able to create identities that look like and represent themselves online.

By picking a photo already uploaded to Facebook, Spaces will automatically give an array of options for users to pick from. After the look has been chosen, users can invite other Facebook friends to join in online.

Facebook’s intention here is to create a world where others can meet, even if they can’t be in the same physical space at the same time. Friends will be able to sit down together at tables and draw 3D objects and share them with one another live.

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