Facebook Working on Augmented Reality Glasses
Right on the heels of the launching of its portal smart display, Facebook has at last confirmed that it is working on augmented reality glasses. The move towards the hardware project could be a challenge to both Apple and Google that have already built some strong reputation in this hardware scene.
A year ago, Mark Zuckerberg had intimated that the tech giant still didn’t have the technology for AR glasses and that it would take the company anywhere from five to seven years to develop augmented reality glasses. So the revelation that it is working on AR glasses as its next big hardware project represents a radical transformation in Facebook’s AR ambitions. The change may partly have been influenced by the need to compete with some of the leaders in this area such as Magic Leap, Microsoft and HoloLens.
The company admits that its AR glasses are still some years away and that it doesn’t have any specific product at this time but it’s currently engaged in cutting-edge research into what might constitute a future augmented reality headset.
Earlier in the year, Facebook had filed a host of patents which fueled the rumors of its ambitious plans to build augmented reality glasses. These rumors have finally been confirmed. In August, the tech giant had been granted a patent approval for its near-eye display glasses. Information on the patent filing indicated this display would be augmenting the real world environment with the computer-generated content, like all AR hardware. Being Facebook hardware, the AR glasses will presumably also allow users to access Facebook posts and notifications within an AR environment thereby taking the social media user experience to a whole new realistic level.
It has also been hinted that the AR glasses might be included in an eyewear piece that would consist of a frame and display assembly which together would deliver the mixed reality experience to the user’s eyes. The technology would also use waveguide display for projecting light onto the wearer’s eyes in order to display videos and images. Rather than outsourcing certain aspects of the developments like other hardware builders, Facebook is planning to be in charge of the entire product development cycle right up to the chip layer of the AR glasses.
The Facebook AR glasses’ approach is expected to be similar to that deployed by the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headsets or the AR glasses being developed by Magic Leap which is backed by Google. It’s expected that the Facebook version would be smaller and sleeker than the other variants currently under development or which are already in existence.
Following the launch of its Facebook Portal, the tech giant is also expected to launch various other hardware devices in the near future. Mark Zuckerberg was teased about an improbable metaphysical piece of hardware utilizing optical sensors that would enable users to type at 100 words per minute just by thinking. There is also an augmented reality projector that is currently in the works under a project dubbed Sequoia which will make it possible for users to project augmented reality graphics onto the real world environment and interact with them in very interesting ways. All these ambitious hardware development projects are proceeding secretively under a project that has been codenamed Edgefield.