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Facebook developing AR glasses to combat Google Glass

Augmented reality is set to dominate the glasses industry as technology giant Facebook effectively confirms ongoing AR glasses development.

Ficus Kirkpatrick, head of augmented reality (AR), Facebook, at a Techcrunch meet revealed that the company is developing hardware products. He elaborated that Facebook is focused on making AR glasses a reality and is contributing actively.

Kirkpatrick explained that a product will not be announced currently, but conceded that many bright minds are conducting advanced research which can enhance the fate of AR headsets. Facebook previously has had no experience as a hardware developer, as it was largely a service provider who relied on other devices and platforms.

Augmented reality, which involves the superimposition of graphical objects in real-world settings, is growing at a steady pace. Apple and Google, both have started focusing on mobile AR, with numerous developers creating device-specific AR-powered applications. US brand Magic Leap recently showcased Magic Leap One, its very first AR offering.

Kirkpatrick stressed that its new augmented reality development will not exhibit mixed reality traits like VR. He went on to explain that users would continue to live their own lives while being able to gain from using AR features.

Users would continue to live their own lives while being able to gain from using AR features. – Ficus Kirkpatrick

AR products might be difficult for people to grasp, with Google Glass being such an example. Security and privacy concerns halted the customer variant, as it turned out to be a head-mounted camera. Facebook’s AR effort is the first instance of the company being in full control of both hardware and software aspects of a product. Being the owner of VR company Oculus, it has access to the knowledge and skill to make waves in the AR domain.

Despite the comparative failure of Glass, it has breathed life into the prospect of using AR in business settings. A recent example was a study conducted at the Stanford School of Medicine, where autistic children were showcased recognisable facial expressions. This signified that the AR arena could be explored further.

The news of Facebook working on its own AR glasses is intriguing, considering the previous issues with such devices. Facebook Portal, a smart-camera display was launched recently as the brand’s first hardware offering. Portal has Alexa built into it and can be used with Facebook’s Messenger, the popular chat platform. However, the launch reception was largely negative.

Critics were quick to engage Facebook with questions regarding Portal’s security, in light of the recent Cambridge Analytica fiasco which has been affecting the brand since February. Facebook should take considerable strides to address safety and privacy issues with direct approaches. That can prevent the company’s AR offering from bombing like Google’s Glass 1.0. The kind of backlash that Portal received can also be reduced effectively.

The company must step up its efforts to gain mileage over key competitors like Amazon and Apple, who are also developing their own AR products.

With several key players leading AR innovation, the domain is witnessing great progress.

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