Facebook’s AR Studio would like to be the Photoshop of augmented reality

Facebook’s AR Studio would like to be the Photoshop of augmented reality

  • From Mark Zuckerberg’s stage-setting vision statement to specific product announcements, a big part of Facebook’s day one F8 keynote was about establishing itself as a platform for augmented-reality experiences that people can explore on their phones.
  • And a big part of that is AR Studio, a new MacOS application for creating interactive, entertaining AR effects of the sort that started out as a signature Snapchat feature but are rapidly showing up all over.
  • Facebook engineering director Ficus Kirkpatrick told me that the company’s goal is not to create scads of these effects itself but rather to provide a platform for many others to do so at vast scale.
  • With AR Studio, he says, “Simple things are easy to do, and hard things are possible to do,” making the software appealing both to artists and technical types.
  • AR Studio came out today.'”

From Mark Zuckerberg’s stage-setting vision statement to specific product announcements, a big part of Facebook’s d

@FastCompany: Facebook’s AR Studio would like to be the Photoshop of augmented reality

From Mark Zuckerberg’s stage-setting vision statement to specific product announcements, a big part of Facebook’s day one F8 keynote was about establishing itself as a platform for augmented-reality experiences that people can explore on their phones. And a big part of that is AR Studio, a new MacOS application for creating interactive, entertaining AR effects of the sort that started out as a signature Snapchat feature but are rapidly showing up all over.

Facebook engineering director Ficus Kirkpatrick told me that the company’s goal is not to create scads of these effects itself but rather to provide a platform for many others to do so at vast scale. With AR Studio, he says, “Simple things are easy to do, and hard things are possible to do,” making the software appealing both to artists and technical types. He adds that it has rich potential to add capabilities in the years to come: “I say to the team a lot, ‘Photoshop is 30 years old. AR Studio came out today.'”

The eco-chic fashion label Reformation is known for its sustainable practices. Besides using high-tech fabrics that are less polluting, it also produces clothes based on real-time demand, so as not to stockpile inventory that might go to waste. Founder Yael Aflalo decided to invest heavily in a factory in downtown L.A. where the company can experiment with new approaches to manufacturing. This summer, the company is opening its doors to guests to see this innovation in action and chat with employees. For an early sneak peek, you can sign up for a tour this upcoming Saturday, which happens to be Earth Day. 

I’m a total supply chain nerd, so the manufacturing process is the part I’m most excited about. But there are also other cool things to see, like the garden where employees can plant vegetables and a cool design studio equipped with vintage furniture.  ES

The photo archives go all the way back to 1958, so conspiracy theorists can study photos of the moon landing for signs of staging, while wannabe Peggy Whitsons and junior Neil deGrasse Tysons can pore over photos of asteroids, supernovas, nebulas, distant galaxies, and robot astronauts to prepare for a future studying the stars—or just a sick new screen saver.

Talk about a close call. NASA says a “relatively large” asteroid will come within a mere 1.1 million miles of our planet tonight. That’s a hair’s breadth in cosmic terms—only 4.6 times the distance between the earth and the moon, and unusually close for an asteroid this big. Still, NASA stresses that there’s no chance of an Armageddon-style collision, which is a relief. The asteroid is named “2014 JO25” and was discovered in 2014. It will be visible in the night sky sometime after April 19 and may even be seen with small optical telescopes for a few nights. NASA has all the details here. 

By the way, NASA says the last time this asteroid came this close was at least 400 years ago, so who knows? Maybe Galileo had a gander at this beauty.

If one thing was clear during the second-day keynote at Facebook’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, today, it’s that the company isn’t afraid of the future. During the 90-minute keynote, executives talked about advances in artificial intelligence, brain-computer interaction, and connectivity that are years away.

It also talked about vision—literally. As in see-through augmented reality glasses that could one day transform the way we live our lives, collect vital information on a daily basis, and interact with the people around us. During his time on stage, Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash spelled out how he thinks such glasses could work. For one thing, they’ll make us smarter and more capable, and it’ll be socially acceptable to wear them—if people can’t clearly tell we’re wearing them. They could help us see in low-light situations, Abrash said, they can enhance our memory and cognition—feeding us vital information during meetings, or even reminding us of someone’s name in a pinch. Or they could be used to collaborate on work projects with people in other places. This isn’t happening any time soon, Abrash said, but it’s a vision Facebook is committed to realizing, and he said he thinks it’s possible we’ll be wearing something along these lines within five years. DT

Just like so much else that millennials are reputed to want or need more than their elders (like “purpose” in their work), job-hopping is another phenomenon that can’t be explained away with sweeping demographic generalizations. “The increasing job tenure of college-educated millennials is consistent with a decline in employer switching among all working-age adults since the 1980s,” Pew researchers point out. “The reasons for the decline are not well understood,” but they aren’t generational.

Many of us are now used to fairly decent internet connectivity on a regular basis. But we have to remember that there are plenty of people–and situations–where high-speed internet is nothing more than a dream. That’s why Facebook (as are others, like Google) is working on improving connectivity in as many places as possible.

Today at F8, its developers conference, the company revealed its latest progress–steps forward in high-speed connectivity for places with none at all, in cities, where buildings can interfere with signals, and in emergency situations. The company revealed it has set new records for wireless data transfer–36 gigabits per second over a distance of 13 kilometers using millimeter-wave technology and 80 gigabits per second using optical cross-link technology; and 16 gigabits per second from a fixed spot on the ground to an aircraft 7 kilometers away. Facebook also talked about a test in San Jose, California, in which it successfully demonstrated a city-scale mesh millimeter-wave system that delivers fiber-quality connectivity. And finally, it announced its Tether-tenna, a connectivity project for places dealing with emergencies like floods or earthquakes that can deliver internet from a wire connected to a helicopter. All of which, of course, means more access to Facebook. DT

Dugan acknowledged that the prospect of Facebook getting inside users’ heads may not sound like anything to root for. “We are not talking about decoding your random thoughts,” she clarified. The use-case scenarios she talked about involved stuff like people with ALS being able to type at 1oo words a minute by thinking and deaf people hearing through their skin.

When a woman out-earns her husband, the husband becomes more partisan, according to a new study published in the Harvard Business Review. While it’s 2017 and women are pretty darn well-established in the workplace, men with strong political views still prefer to earn more money than their wives. If those same men are lucky enough to be married to a woman who is the family’s chief breadwinner, they respond by doubling down on their political and social attitudes—and that happens on both sides of the political spectrum. 

Turns out that for many men in the U.S., being the primary breadwinner is a big part of their gender identity (e.g. it makes them feel manly like barbecuing meat or watching The Poseidon Adventure). When faced with the “gender role threat” of a wife who earns more than they do, liberal men come to hold more liberal views on issues like abortion and what the study called “government aid to African Americans.” Conversely, conservative men come to hold more conservative views. Read the full article here. ML

Facebook’s AR Studio would like to be the Photoshop of augmented reality

You might also like More from author

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.