During the Oculus Connect 6 event, Facebook hardware lead Andrew Bosworth confirmed today that the company is working on AR glasses — but in the meanwhile, it’s working on the software side of the equation: live maps, specifically accurate and frequently updated spatial maps of the world and buildings within it.
According to Bosworth, Facebook already has a few working prototypes for AR glasses, which will go beyond VR in enabling people to share both real and virtual spaces with each other, a less isolating experience. However, the underlying cloud and software technology to make the shared AR experience scalable still needs to be developed, and real-world maps are critical to this. A video demonstration showed 3D-mapping cameras similar to the ones in Oculus Quest scanning indoor environments, creating maps of what’s inside real world buildings. The company suggested that the maps will live in the cloud for multiple users to share, and get updated with new details as they were sensed by new devices.
Back in August, Oculus said that it was working to bring the inside-out space mapping and tracking features of Oculus Insight and Guardian to future wearable AR glasses, though it suggested they weren’t coming any time soon — a point reinforced weeks later by Oculus CTO John Carmack. Even so, a report last week claimed that the company was partnering with fashion eyewear giant Luxottica to develop AR glasses, which were said to be a pet project of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.