Facebook hopes to prove AR is more than selfie filters and games

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has been investing heavily in AR and trying to prove it can work not just for games, but for ads in the News Feed or to help brands sell shoes and phones in Messenger. Facebook sees combining digital objects with the physical world, as the perfect way to keep people tied to its services. On Messenger, for instance, not only can you video chat with your friends, but now you can also play AR games with them when the conversation needs a little pick-me-up. And the more time you spend using a Facebook product, be it Messenger or Instagram, the more money the company makes. That’s why AR isn’t simply an experiment for Facebook — it’s a potential gold mine.

Aside from its acquisition of Oculus in 2014, there’s evidence that suggests the company is working on its own augmented reality hardware, too, based on a patent application it filed in 2017 for a pair of camera-centric spectacles. This concept, which Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg first touched on at the 2016 F8 developer conference, indicates the glasses could use a waveguide system to project images and light into the wearer’s eyes. It’s similar to the technology powering Microsoft’s HoloLens, and Magic Leap’s $2,300 AR headset. Whether Facebook ever actually launches an AR headset, it’s still working to create an augmented reality ecosystem that may only be rivaled…

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