Facebook wants you to sit in your bedroom wearing a headset and take a virtual vacation with faraway friends and family. Or use your smartphone’s camera to spruce up your dinky apartment, at least virtually.
The promise of augmented and virtual reality was a big focus of Facebook’s annual conference for developers on Tuesday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the gathering of programmers and other tech folks by talking about augmented reality tools he envisions on Facebook.
Augmented reality involves the overlay of computer-generated images into real-world surroundings. Zuckerberg said new phone-based applications might let you create a three-dimensional scene from a single two-dimensional photo or splatter the walls of your house with colorful digital art. (You’d see the digital additions by looking “through” your phone at the augmented physical world.)
Facebook executives stressed that the technology is still in its early stages, and that the “journey to the future of augmented reality is just 1 percent finished,” as Deb Liu, vice president of platform and marketplaces, put it.
Zuckerberg envisions the marriage of augmented reality and Facebook’s camera feature enabling people to make even mundane chores, like doing the dishes, look entertaining with digital effects. Of course, it could also result in people staring into their smartphones even more intently as they marvel at an alternate reality instead of their actual surroundings.
“Over time, I think this is going to be a really important technology that changes how we use our phones,” Zuckerberg predicted.
Facebook also launched a virtual world, called Facebook Spaces, designed to let users of its Oculus Rift VR headset hang out with avatar versions of their friends in a virtual world. It’s the first time the company has connected the Rift to its social network in a meaningful way, though it’s a development Zuckerberg hinted at when the company bought Oculus back in 2014 for $2 billion.
Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Barbara Ortutay reported from New York.