Augmented Reality: Hundreds of workers displaced from Facebook Reality Labs

Facebook beefs up FRL and rumors of AR glasses increase.

Facebook has expanded its augmented reality development team.

Hundreds of workers have moved from Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) to a new team, exclusively focused on augmented reality development.

According to company sources, this unit, led by Michael Abrash and Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, is already prototyping “high-end” augmented reality glasses.

These reports are in line with recent moves by Mark Zuckerberg’s company, following the purchase of Oculus Rift in 2014 and the products announced at F8 in 2017.

It is unclear how many workers have moved to this new unit. According to sources, this could be up to 650 workers.

Although this figure was qualified by Tera Randall, Director of Communications for the augmented and virtual reality department: “a few hundred workers were displaced from FRL to work on an augmented reality product.

Both teams are growing, and we expect FRLto grow by 20% this year.”

Although it is not clear how many workers will form this team, it is clear that Facebook is working with the aim of launching a commercial product, probably augmented reality glasses, to the consumer market.

 

 

Leading this project are Michael Abrash and Andrew “Boz” Bosworth.

The former, hired to join Oculus VR shortly after it was absorbed by Facebook, has a strong reputation within the video game industry.

Abrash will work side by side with Andrew Bosworth, vice president of virtual and augmented reality at Facebook, and one of the company’s heavyweights.

(he joined in 2006, being one of the first fifteen engineers hired by Zuckerberg).

This project is still a step on the path that the Silicon Valley giant embarked on in 2014, when it bought Oculus Rift.

The fact that a company like Facebook would invest $2 billion to acquire the leading virtual reality company was a statement of intent.

And although since then the implementation of virtual reality and augmented reality in Facebook has been rather discreet, it seems that this situation is about to change.

 

At the 2017 F8 conference, Facebook introduced Frame Studio and Spark AR Studio.

All these movements had their culmination in May 2018. Then, Zuckerberg’s company created Facebook Reality Labs out of Oculus Research, the Oculus Rift research department.

Far from being a simple name change, Facebook linked its name and brand image directly to the development of virtual reality and augmented reality. Earlier, in 2016, several changes were already made within the Oculus Rift organization chart to give the virtual reality company more clout within the Facebook organization.

Therefore, we can see a continuing strategy, already since 2014, for augmented reality and virtual reality to be increasingly and more important pillars within Facebook. This dynamic has once again been reinforced with the creation of this specialized RA unit.

Now we just have to see what product Facebook surprises us with. Although no deadlines or target dates have been given, all indications are that the wait may not be too long.

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