Over the past year, Facebook has been invested heavily in augmented reality technology. In 2017, the company released its Augmented Reality Camera Effects platform and the AR Studio tool at F8, followed by AR features in its Messenger app in December.
On Wednesday, April 4, the company announced users can get the first glimpse of one its AR features called AR Target Tracker. The feature, still in closed beta, “makes it possible for brands, publishers, artists, and developers to create content that’s contextually tied to images, logos, signs, and pictures in the real world,” according to the company’s blog post.
Although the feature is in closed beta Facebook found a novel way to show off the feature to its users: It collaborated with two major films to show off just what it can do. Starting Thursday, April 5, exclusive interactive content is available on posters for Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time.
This isn’t a totally new idea. Both Lifeprint and Prynt have both created consumer photo printers that allow you to add augmented reality features to your photos. Facebook’s feature, however, brings the idea to scale and allows major companies to provide interactive content that is associated with their brands.
There is another feature that makes Facebook’s AR Target Tracker pretty unique as well. Facebook’s AR experiences a persistent, meaning they are “experiences that are connected to and persist relative to places or things in the real world.”
While AR features are becoming more common on high-end smartphones, many of the apps and features simply do not work with older or budget phones. Facebook, however, says its features should work on most smartphones around the world since it has heavily optimized its tracking algorithm. The company states the feature will be compatible with many phones including most Android devices produced after 2012 and all iPhones from the iPhone SE to the iPhone X.
Right now the feature is only available on movie posters for Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time. To see the AR content, simply open the camera on the Facebook app for iOS or Android and point the lens toward the poster. You will see interactive content for each of the films.