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Facebook ups AR/VR game

Mark Zuckerberg has revealed Facebook’s new Camera Effects Platform to a developer event in California, designed to give developers the power to build AR tools.

He described the previous rollout of camera functionality across all of Facebook’s apps as “act one”. Act two, he said, is “giving developers the power to build for augmented reality in the first augmented reality platform: the camera”.

Starting with ‘basic effects’, Zuckerberg showed images of Snapchat-style photo overlays like facemasks, but said that as an open platform users will be able to create their own and “instead of having 10 to 20 options to choose from, you’re going to have thousands”.

On the use of AR for consumers, Zuckerberg described the power of overlaying digital content onto the real world via glasses or contact lenses and said that doing so would “make our physical reality better….You want to watch TV, we can put a digital TV on that wall and instead of being a piece of hardware, it’s a $1 app instead of a $500 piece of equipment.”

At the F8 event Facebook also launched a new virtual reality app, Facebook Spaces, designed to let users hang out in virtual environments. The app lets users interact, share 360° videos and photos and “relive personal memories from your own Timelines, or even make new ones,” says Facebook.

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