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Facebook is mapping the planet to create a foundation for its AR glasses

Zuckerberg is building AR glasses, but he needs to build an AR world first.
Jessica Conditt, @JessConditt
September 25, 2019
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Facebook is actively developing augmented reality glasses, with plans to completely recreate the planet in a 3D map, allowing users to live in enhanced, interactive spaces. That's right -- Facebook is building a new, virtual reality that lays directly on top of the physical world, designed to be accessed as often as we look at our smartphones today.

Facebook Reality Labs is building LiveMaps, calling it "the core infrastructure that will underpin tomorrow's AR experiences." LiveMaps generates a shared, virtual map that mirrors the physical world, using machine vision, localization and crowd-sourced mapping technology. Facebook will use the oodles of data that it collects from its 2.4 billion users to build LiveMaps, pulling geotagged images to generate point clouds and create a precise virtual globe.

In Facebook's vision for AR, headsets and glasses will tap into these previously generated 3D maps, rather than reconstructing a user's actual surroundings in real-time. This enables virtual teleportation capabilities and allows assistance technology to provide information about nearby objects and locales.

Facebook LiveMaps

LiveMaps and Facebook's AR goals are still years away from becoming mainstream consumer products, but the work is beginning now, and the company certainly has the data to back up the creation of a new, fake reality.

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