Facebook has been focusing on delivering the next computing platform with augmented and virtual reality, and has confirmed that it is developing AR hardware along with an operating system for it.
During the company's conference call on Thuersday, Facebook said that "..on the AR side, while we're working on the long term hardware and operating system," without, however elaborating more.
Most of Facebook’s hardware relies on the mercy of Google and its operating system that’s used widely across billions of devices. Facebook is obviously no longer happy about depending on its competition for some of the most important components of their products.
The company has put Mark Luckovsky, the co-author of Microsoft’s Windows NT) in charge of building a brand new operating system from scratch.
Known as Eye OS, the new operating system will allow Facebook more freedom and opportunities to integrate social interactions and better security in their gadgets.
Eye OS will power Facebook's AR glasses. The new hardware initiative will take place having AR/VR team at a new office establishing in Burlingame. With 770,000 square feet in size, the building will host over 4,000 employees, along with spaces with advanced technology such as new labs, prototype areas, and testing fields.
"The defining characteristic of AR and VR is that they deliver the sense of presence, like you're right there with another person or in another place, and this is the holy grail of social experiences. And it's going to let us build things that we've only dreamed of for the last 15 years, like letting people interact as if they're in person together no matter where they are, or letting people live wherever they want and hologram into work so they can access opportunities anywhere and don't have to move to a city or another country to find a job," Facebook said. The company also added that while full augmented reality is still a number of years away, Facebook hit a real milestone for virtual reality with Quest. "Sales are stronger than we expected, and people are buying and engaging with more content than we expected to. On Christmas Day, people bought almost $5 million worth of content in the Oculus Store. And that's an outlier day, but still this is real volume by any measure. And it shows the progress that this ecosystem is making," Facebook said.
In addition, the company is prototyping its own VR video conferencing system that features a smart camera that auto-zooms to keep everyone in the frame. The Facebook Worklplace video call camera will help enterprises change the way they hold meetings in virtual reality.
Facebook has also reported progress on their brain-computer interface project. They are designing hardware for controlling interfaces with our minds. As much as this sounds like science fiction, the actual technology that will allow humans to control gadgets with their minds already exists in Facebook’s labs.