Today at Oculus Connect 6, Facebook formerly announced plans to develop a consumer-focused AR headset. But while the company wasn’t ready to actually talk about the product, they said their focus is starting first on a building a copy of the real world called LiveMaps.

Facebook said outright on stage today, “we’re building an AR headset.” This has been more or less known for some time, but now the company is talking about the steps its taking to actually get there.

In order to deliver the vision of breaking down the barrier between the real and digital worlds, Facebook says they first need a digital copy of the real world—a foundation for an augmented reality headset to understand and interact with reality.

Facebook is calling it LiveMaps, and says it will be a “multi-layer representation of the world,” and one which will crowdsource data from connected devices in real time to provide a constantly updated picture of the real world.

This isn’t just about tracking a device’s location in physical space (though that will surely be an important part of it), it’s about laying a comprehensive foundation for augmented reality devices to understand and digitally modify our world.

Report: Facebook Strikes Deal with Ray-Ban Parent Company to Design "AR glasses"

Facebook isn’t the first company to be working on this problem, which has also been referred to as the ‘AR cloud’ or ‘mirror world’, among others, and there’s widespread agreement among AR pioneers that such a foundation is essential to the mainstream AR vision that’s been seen in concept videos for more than a decade.

This story is breaking, check back for more info as we get it.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Master E

    Very interesting! Glad they are pushing tech like this and VR.

    Always wondered if Google Earth had a super high rez version out there that one day Google would downscale, render in VR, or augmented reality, and then create all sorts of activities and games over it.

    Makes me wonder if FB is trying to recreate the world virtually as a platform for all things virtual and augmented.

    Still though… as an Oculus owner I don trust FB. I know tons of companies are basically just trying to record our lives, but FB has been unfortunately shadier than I ever wanted to know.

    • dsadas

      if they want I can show them pics with my micro dick and even my wife vagina because I don’t give a fuck

  • ivan

    Lol System like this was destroid in The Dark Knight, as it was very dangerous to use even for Batman.

  • bud01

    Really cool, the ideal would be real time live maps of earth can one day be some how presented to the international space station, moon, mars and vs versa.

    The communication lag should one day be worked out via some form of quantum entanglement or some thing Star Trek ish

    Facebook and oculus only endeavoured to really excel in the past, so many good intending people with so much vision and commitment to push forward not just basic web services or simple services, but important aspects of science and technology. When you think Facebook don’t just think oh those guys that didn’t make a CV2….. It’s about adherence to quality, long long road ahead of amazing digital empowerment, if you live in New York or a remote village off the beaten track.

    Live maps looks to be indicator of well being and digital progress,

    Company’s taking on nice big difficult to chew projects (do) gives a good feeling.

  • Tom_Craver

    Nice video, but I think there’s something going unstated.

    Would people really be wearing an AR headset at a party, on the street going to a movie, or on an educational tour through a bamboo forest or running down some stairs? There are reasons none of those people were shown wearing AR headsets. More realistic near term applications for AR headsets would be building monitoring and maintenance, security work, and other tasks where the focus is less on people or natural environments.

    What Facebook and others might ultimately be aiming for – or end up realizing they need to aim for – is a VR headset that brings the real world into VR in realtime, instead of overlaying information on reality. With that approach (and extremely good graphics) people might wear VR headsets that hide reality and yet let them see the sort of modified version of reality illustrated in the video, including seeing other people without headsets.

    • dsadas

      everyone is going to wear ar glasses in the future and most of the people 10 years from now.

      • Tom_Craver

        The value added by AR headsets (over, for example, AR on your phone) doesn’t seem sufficient for that to happen. Some high value but narrow AR applications will exist, but not enough to get many let along most people wearing them much of the time.

        VR that reproduces reality (and modifies it, e.g. to delete the VR headsets and add whatever else is desired) maybe – but even that probably not in a decade.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Except a lot of people already wear (sun)glasses, and with the advancements made these days, it won’t be long before AR-glasses are just as compact as regular glasses… Biggest concern for me is the camera’s.

  • Jarom Madsen

    FB didn’t even make an attempt at discussing privacy concerns… do they not learn? Are they actually just trying to turn our world into a dystopia? This crosses so many boundaries if done incorrectly and frankly I don’t trust FB to tread carefully. Google Glass caused a bunch of security concerns and it wasn’t even close to this level of intrusion.

    To quote Lucius Fox from The Dark Knight: “This. Is. Wrong.”

  • Brettyboy01

    haha, so Area 51 will never load then.

  • polysix

    one day recording everything… all movement and moments in time in a photo real capture will basically give us ‘time travel’ (but only from the time it started to be possible). Maybe A.I could take us further back but that’s years in the future.

    Time travel AND teleportation “of a sort” will both be possible via VR & AR in years to come.

  • dota

    Anything less than waveguide optics is an experiment & a gimmick
    & pain in neck
    Get it???

  • Ad

    There needs to be some kind of bill of rights around this where it’s a public non profit thing, you can opt out, and any one controlling entity on layers is discouraged.