Facebook Augmented Reality Engine Launched at Facebook F8 Conference. Facebook does not expect to build all of these software experiences itself. At its annual developer conference on Tuesday, it called for computer programmers to help by building augmented-reality-based apps to work with what Facebook calls its Camera Effects Platform. Facebook announced new tools to aid developers and will begin the initiative with a small number of partners in a closed test.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s goal is ambitious — perhaps overly so. Augmented reality efforts have flopped in the past, including Google’s much-promoted attempt around spectacles with the technology, known as Google Glass. Facebook has previously gambled on other futuristic technologies — including virtual reality, with a $2 billion purchase of Oculus, the virtual reality goggles maker, in 2014 — but Mr. Zuckerberg has acknowledged that it has had difficulty finding traction.
Facebook Augmented Reality Engine Launched at Facebook F8 Conference
Making AI Local
In applying Picasso’s style to personal snapshots, that new Facebook app leans on deep neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence that’s rapidly reinventing the tech world. But these neural networks are different. They run on the phone itself, not in a data center on the other side of the internet. This is essential to the kind of augmented reality Zuckerberg so gleefully pitched on Tuesday morning. You can’t do what he wants to do unless these AI techniques run right there on the phone. Going over the internet takes much to long. The effect is lost.
Facebook is now allowing developers to apply for access to the closed beta of the platform’s AR Studio tool. It will allow developers to use precise location, object recognition and depth detection to create their effects. Facebook’s camera will be able to recognize specific objects like a coffee cup, and bubble up related effects to users like steam coming off the cup or sharks swimming inside the coffee.
Meanwhile, anyone can now use the Frame Studio to upload simple, static overlaid image filters that will appear in Facebook Camera to their friends or a Page’s fans. There’s no need for coding knowledge to use Frame Studio, you just upload an image and your name will appear on the Frame’s preview and News Feed posts to give you credit.