After months of rumors and speculation, Facebook confirmed that it is working on its own augmented reality (RA) lenses in recent statements. After the launch of its smart screen Portal, everything indicates that the signs of the social network's work could be challenging both Apple and Google, adding a new player to the scene.
Almost a year after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook was not developing technology and that "about five to seven years would be needed to make augmented reality lenses," now it seems that a big change is at the doors. Challenged by the competition of Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap and Thalmic Labs, the Director of Augmented Reality of Facebook, Ficus Kirkpatrick, believes that Facebook AR glasses are something that should come true.
“Of course we are working on it, I think we have talked about this publicly in Oculus Connect. We are doing a lot of research on this, but I think the glasses we are wearing are pretty far away, Kirkpatrick told TechCrunch. "We have no product to announce at this time, but we have many very talented people who are conducting a cutting-edge research, which we hope will be part of future AR lenses."
The comments confirm several rumors, and patent reports earlier this year that indicated that AR glasses designed by Facebook were in development. Part of those rumors initially involved publications of "innovative work in computer vision, machine learning, mixed reality, graphics, screens, sensors and new ways of mapping the human body." It was also suggested that Facebook was looking to control the entire process through augmented reality devices.
It is not a secret that Facebook has faced many security and privacy scandals in recent years, but given the concern of data collection with its first hardware, it is still interesting to see how the public take such lenses, in case they are a reality.
The social media giant now has its own hardware lab and, considering Facebook's ownership of Oculus, there may be some cooperation on the software side of future VR glasses. For now, that probability is remote and there is still a lot of development before any real product is available to the general public. We will keep you informed.