Pushing AR Effects Beyond Selfie Masks: How Facebook’s New Tracking Markers will Integrate Augmented Reality Tech into the Real World
Complete and total AR integration is closer than ever thanks to Facebook and a pair of Hollywood movie studios.
Announcing its new location markers initiative, which triggers AR experiences, Facebook has released a pair of activations in association with the films A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One. Linked to the blockbusters and their physical movie posters, these new AR marker-based experiences allow users to test Facebook’s augmented reality camera, which overlays images of the virtual Oasis world on the location markers.
The news is a major advancement as Facebook begins to beta test its AR Studio. It also signals a boom to third-party AR developers and the emerging industry as a whole.
“It’s products like this that are going to lead consumers into the AR market full steam,” offers Ryan Isbell, founder and CEO of Possible Reality, an LA-based AR studio. “Facebook is bringing this awesome technology to the masses, but where Facebook takes it one step further is by helping society interact with its environment using augmented reality-generated images.”
Potentially a giant step forward for the implementation of augmented reality technology into real-life scenarios, Facebook is paving the way for AR developers. But questions remain on how the market will follow, and if consumers will respond by gravitating further towards increased AR integration.
Isbell and Possible Reality predict that these new AR offerings will garner a positive response from the public, not only increasing awareness of the emerging market, but also bolstering online interaction and engagement.
“This is the real start of using AR as a social media tool,” explains Isbell. “While AR is already in our daily lives: backup cameras, sports games on television; this brings us closer to the urban exploration stage of augmented reality ... where, through the use of mobile devices, AR will completely change how you and I navigate the world.”
While early AR adopters enhanced photos with selfie masks on Snapchat and chased Pokémon around the globe through geolocation, Facebook’s new activation, along with their AR Studio product, signals the beginning of an educational process that will help consumers integrate AR applications into their daily routines.
Going beyond selfie masks and geolocation games, Facebook is priming the consumer market for a full-on implementation of augmented reality technology into the physical world. The eventual result of these emerging AR experiences will lead to a seamless union, where reality and enhancement are complementary.
Isbell believes that “these are the kind of developments that users need to really embrace as AR evolves into a long term, game-changing medium.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has paved a new road for the emergence of AR and VR technology. Starting with the purchase of Oculus in March of 2014, the announcement of sharing 3D models using gITF 2.0 on timeline posts in February 2018, and now AR Studio in closed beta testing in March 2018, Facebook has long since been an industry leader.
And while Facebook’s efforts have helped create and open a market for a wave of startups, Possible Reality among them, the Menlo Park, CA giant is nudging users towards increased interaction where online and offline experiences blend into one another.
“This is a great thing for Possible Reality. Interaction is paramount for us, so the more outlets we have to let users interact between their virtual and real lives the better,” adds Isbell. “Facebook already gave Possible Reality one great piece of news with the implementing of 3D images in Facebook. Now we have a major social media outlet bridging the gap and allowing users to easily show each other how cool this really all can be.”
Possible Reality, which is preparing for a series of product launches in 2018, is also focused on bridging the gap to the augmented space, although they’re carving out a niche in regards to photo-realistic digital avatar creation. Aiming to provide a mobile solution that can quickly help users generate lifelike digital assets, Isbell and Possible Reality are taking avatar creation to new heights by developing a variety of different AR settings where users can not only share avatars, but also place these animations into actual geo-locations anywhere in the world.
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