Facebook Tests Marker-Based AR Experiences For Facebook Camera

Facebook is testing marker-based AR experiences, beginning with films Ready Player One and A Wrinkle In Time. The feature will be added to Facebook’s AR studio and made available to all developers next month.

As reported by TechCrunch, these two films serve as a closed beta for the new marker-based AR feature coming to Facebook Camera. Facebook Camera users can point their phones at movie posters either in the real world or on a computer screen to trigger an AR experience based on either Ready Player One or A Wrinkle In Time.

Pointing Facebook Camera at a poster for Ready Player One overlays a window that peers into the OASIS—a VR world central to the movie’s plot. Ready Player One premiered at SXSW on Monday and will open in theaters March 29.

For A Wrinkle In Time, the effect creates flowers that float into the user’s world and creates a ripple effect around the user when taking selfies. The Facebook Camera effect was announced on March 9 through the film’s official account.

Facebook launched its Camera Effects Studio beta less than a year ago and to all developers in December. The addition of marker-based AR will allow marketers to integrate Facebook Camera effects into their print or digital campaigns. Unlike marker-less AR filters that can misinterpret the world around a user, marker-based AR is more accurate and invites users to interact with real-world objects or images.

Some retailers like Ikea and American Girl already use marker-based AR together with print catalogs to provide additional information or preview an item in a 3D environment. Disney released an AR experience for Pete’s Dragon that would make the dragon appear when pointed at objects as instructed, such as a couch.

AR books are also becoming more popular, and the music industry has adopted the technology, as well. Last year, Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson’s estate partnered with Shazam to create an AR experience for Scream. Pointing the Shazam app at the album’s insert would cause the artwork to animate in AR.

IDC predicts that global AR/VR spending will rise 95 percent in 2018 to $17.8 billion. Consumer spending is expected to exceed $20 billion by the year 2021.