Facebook is set to take its virtual reality technology into the augmented reality sphere. The social media giant has filed a patent for Oculus AR smartglasses that could superimpose virtual objects onto the real world. The technology is being developed by Facebook-owned Oculus, responsible for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The glasses would rival Microsoft's $3,000 Hololens headset that went on sale earlier this year. However, unlike the Rift, the augmented reality glasses could let users see and interact with virtual objects layered on top of the real world.
In a statement Facebook said that the smartglasses would project light onto the users eyes to overlay images and video on top of real world settings. The company are also working with the concept of including headphones and speakers within the glasses for a more immersive experience.
Other tech giants, including Apple and Google, are also working on augmented reality technology. Google's Glass headset, released in 2013, was an early attempt at making the technology mainstream. And Apple is now said to be focussing on augmented reality rather through its ARKit development platform.
The prospect of Apple launching an AR or VR device is looking increasingly likely. Despite the company regularly distancing themselves from both markets, the number of leaks coming out of Apple are becoming hard to ignore. The latest indication that Apple is working on AR glasses has come from an injury incident report which was leaked to Gizmodo. Although nothing concrete is revealed, the report confirms that Apple is testing headsets designed to overlay 3D images into your eye.
Apple has never shown a real interest in VR. In fact, it has almost gone so far as to dismiss it entirely. Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he believes there is more interest in augmented reality than VR – a feature expected to be implemented with the launch of Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone later this year, with facial recognition capabilities in a rumoured iPhone 8.