Virtual reality has been at the center of many's attention in the past year with technologies like Oculus Rift or its cheaper version Google Cardboard that let the user immerse in a completely artificial experience and interact with the generated virtual world. While Facebook demonstrated an interest in virtual reality by purchasing Oculus Rift and activating 360-degree videos on the social media platform's news feed, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he is already thinking beyond this technology.
According to TechCrunch, at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Zuckerberg said that the company is now already working on augmented reality since, as Facebook's Michael Abrash mentioned, virtual reality is already "past the knee of the curve" and it's now time to start moving even further. Abrash commented the following:
"It's very interesting; it's something we'd all use if it worked well. It's kind of seamless. Maybe it'll be contacts [or glasses]. You'll have something on and it'll be VR and AR as you choose. But right now the VR tech is past the knee of the curve. For AR, it's harder. There are a whole lot of challenges — how you do the optics and displays and get photos onto the eyes, how you have something that's socially acceptable and comfortable all day. I think VR is here now, I think AR will be here, but it's a long road to get there."
Instead of creating a completely separated digital world like virtual reality does, augmented reality merges the real world with layers of virtual elements that you can interact with. An example that everyone is talking about right now is Microsoft's HoloLens, which lets you use the surrounding environment as the canvas on which holographic elements appear and allow you to work, study or play.
If we apply augmented reality to the Facebook experience, it is easy to imagine a variety of uses like features that let you get visual feedback on a store you see on the street without the need to take out a phone or any other screen. As Zuckerberg explained:
"If you think about phones, it's still a little awkward to take it out of your pocket. In the future, if you want to look around you should be able to look around. If you want to select something, you should be able to look at it."
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