Facebook's new camera could make you question reality

By Pam Magwaza
19 April 2017

Facebook's new Augmented reality camera may soon be blurring the lines between real and virtual reality.

Real or not real?

Facebook's new augmented reality (AR) camera might soon be blurring the lines between the two, according to its founder Mark Zuckerberg.

If you haven't noticed the little camera on the top left hand side of your Facebook app maybe it's time you checked out it. Facebook 'Stories' are a thing now, and this little camera is where you create them.

This new camera makes use of augmented reality (AR) allowing you to add masks, frames, and objects to your pictures or while you record video (features Snapchat users will be familiar with).

But the good folks at Facebook are taking things a step further with cool functions like object detection. With it, the camera will soon be able to recognise certain things like, say, a coffee mug, and a little menu will pop up with relevant effects like a cloud of steam, Buzzfeed reports.

Or, Zuckerberg explained at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference on 19 April, “you can add a second coffee mug, so it looks like you’re not having breakfast alone.”

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, gave another example: “Let’s say I took a wonderful vacation photo and a windsurfer rudely interrupted my view.”

With Facebook’s camera, the annoying surfer could simply be edited out, Schroepfer explained.

The Stories feature in the Facebook app was just the first step, Zuck said, adding that Facebook has some big plans for the AR functionality.

The company has opened the tech up to developers all over the world, allowing them to build on the Camera Effects Platform.

"The unique thing that we’re going to do is we’re not just going to build basic cameras, we’re going to build the first mainstream augmented reality platform.”

According to TechCrunch, he criticised other apps for keeping their AR tools to themselves.

"Building an open platform I think is going to be one of the big advances that pushes this forward . . . all developers can work on [the open platform] so that way you don’t just have 10 or 20 effects but you have thousands.”

"Even though we were a little slow to add cameras to all our apps, I’m confident that now we’re going to push this augmented reality camera forward."

Sources: TechCrunch, Buzzfeed, Wired

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