How Facebook plans to boost augmented reality with Spark AR

How Facebook plans to boost augmented reality with Spark AR

More than a billion people have interacted with Facebook’s Spark AR augmented reality platform. But that might mean that we’ve all had cat faces put on our heads in silly messages.

Some of us are hoping that the technology will be useful for something more than that silliness. But Facebook is working hard on helping the technology grow up. It has launched its Portal smart camera that lets people hold long-distance video calls in their living rooms.

It also extended the Spark AR Studio AR app creation platform to the Windows and Mac platforms. That’s all about making it easier to create AR apps — and hopefully some higher quality apps than the kind we’ve seen so far.

I spoke with Matt Roberts, product manager for Spark AR, at Facebook’s recent F8 conference about the potential of augmented reality.

GamesBeat: Spark AR got a lot of airtime during the keynote. What are your views on the coolest things people are doing, as opposed to Snapchat and other things like that? It’s all a bit silly, but I’m curious how you might perceive the differences between really well-done AR and more basic AR.

Matt Roberts: As Mark mentioned yesterday, we’ve had more than a billion people try it in the past 12 months. The vast majority of those people tried it perhaps for the first time, or just the first few times, and it was for a more playful experience like you describe. Having come from the game industry, the power of play and the power of people experimenting with technology through games and playful applications is a natural and necessary part of the evolution of any technology. You see that on the front line of new technologies very often. Read more

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