Social media giant Facebook today unveiled additions to its Spark AR augmented reality (AR) platform that the company hopes will be used by developers and developers to build Metaverse applications. The company announced its plans to build a virtual “metaverse” during its second quarter conference call this year, and the new features from Spark AR will help add more AR capabilities to apps built on the platform / p>

The Metaverse is a concept that dates back to the 1960s in the world of technology. It envisions a virtual world where people can interact, buy real estate, and do other everyday activities. It is often depicted in science fiction films such as Ready Player One.

The company announced it will launch an app for iPhones called Polar, which will allow users to “create and share” AR effects and filters from their mobile phones. Polar is a free iOS app powered by Spark AR that will make it easier for you to imagine, create and share AR effects and filters, right on your mobile phone. Polar was developed by creators for creatives, with an intuitive interface and a range of templates to help you create effects, “the company said in a blog post.

The company said it will invite developers to participate in a closed beta later this year.

The company also announced a new Geo JS application programming interface (API) that allows AR use cases to be tied to specific geographic locations. Facebook said the feature could be used to create scavenger hunts, guided tours, and more that require AR activations to be anchored to specific locations in the real world.

The feature could support games like Pokemon Go, music concerts, and more that require AR effects “to be“ tied ”to unique points of interest around the venue. Fun, new opportunities for multiple AR experiences that target specific latitudes and locations Longitude coordinates are anchored, “says the blog post.

Spark AR will now also have two new features – body tracking and hand tracking. With body tracking, developers can anchor AR effects to specific body movements, which platforms such as Snapchat offer in their platforms. The American messaging and camera company yesterday teamed up with the Indian Flipkart to leverage such capabilities for e-commerce.

On the other hand, hand tracking can help incorporate gestures into AR applications. “This is the first of a multi-phase feature introduction that supports the hand bounding box. In our beta tests so far, we’ve seen some playful uses of hand tracking, from performative arts and comedic skits to fantastic superpowers, “said Facebook.

Spark AR is also designed to make it easier for developers to place 3D objects in the real world, including characters, GIFs, text, stickers, and more. “We’re also improving the technical tools for objects to enable high-fidelity experiences, especially for use cases like retail and shopping, with virtual try-ons and product previews,” the company said.

Facebook is also offering a new Spark AR certification program and a new AR Pro course. The two programs are part of a $ 150 million Facebook Reality Labs educational program designed to help intermediate and advanced AR creators improve their skills. “The certification program is for advanced AR developers who want to highlight their AR skills in the marketplace, either to advance their careers or to pursue more creative hiring opportunities with brands and agencies,” the company said US dollars, but Facebook is offering coupons to the first 2000 YouTubers who sign up for it.

Finally, the company also announced a partnership with game engine developer Unity to launch the company’s Create with VR for Educators course. It will also partner with educational institutions for such courses.

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