Facebook Has Created A Publicly Accessible API For AR Development, That Is Currently Under Beta Testing

Facebook is creating a new augmented reality (AR) API, allowing users to take another step into the relatively new technology via it's platforms.

AR may not be taking the world by storm, but it's effects are still very hard to miss. The technology has very slowly, almost casually, seeped into our regular online interactions, and much of that seepage can be attributed to social media platforms. Perhaps the word AR heightens people's expectations of what falls under the technology. It sounds like technology straight out of cyberpunk novels. However, AR can count as anything that augments the person's online presence. An example of AR is simply the backgrounds that Zoom allows on their video chats. Since they imply that a person's in a different setting, the feature falls under the use of AR.

A very famous use of AR can be found the supremely popular mobile game, Pokémon GO. The game, which involves walking around a town's settings in order to capture new Pokémon, generates images of the little critters in a person's surrounding space. Snapchat itself is a huge proponent of AR, relying on it for conducting online auction sales during the pandemic. Users could "try on" certain accessories and clothes via their camera, in order to decide whether or not the products were worth purchasing. AR is definitely where the future's headed. And it seems that Facebook's interested as well.

This new API, entitled Multipeer, is compatible with the Spark AR Studio application. Developers also need a basic understanding of Javascript in order to start their work. The end result? Creating new AR features that can be utilized in video calls via Facebook and Messenger. The purpose, as revealed by a statement from the social network, is to elevate video calls. Currently, the medium relies on two forms of media: audio, and video. The development of new AR features will add another facet to these calls that can both personalize them, and make them more interesting overall.

An accompanying video shows what the AR features might look like. Birthday hats on people, video games involving tracing, or additions to one's foreground as opposed to their background are some of the examples touched on. Other than that, a user's skill and imagination form the limit. The Multipeer API is currently in beta testing, and creators are asked to apply for participation. After that, who knows what video chatting on Facebook's platforms will look like.
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