Facebook has announced a new option within their suite of AR tools, adding ‘target tracking’ to their AR Studio platform which will enable developers to build AR experiences triggered by image content.
As explained by Facebook:
“Since AR Studio opened in December, creators have been able to build effects where people can place 3D objects into their surroundings, and interact with them in real-time. Now we're also adding target tracking capabilities to the platform which allows the camera to track an image and open an immersive experience.”
As shown in the video, target tracking uses image cues to spark a relevant AR process. Snapchat has been working on similar, while Twitter has also reportedly been working on image-recognition-triggered ads, though nothing more has been announced at this stage (and they were not AR-enabled).
First showcased at SXSW (and reported by TechCrunch), the new option is an extension of Facebook’s work on simultaneous localization and mapping – or SLAM – which they demonstrated via an art project with Heather Day last September.
SLAM is a little more advanced, being locked to a location (like Snapchat’s AR art installation project), but the process is the same, using image recognition cues to trigger a dedicated experience within the app.
As noted, Snapchat has tried out similar, though the tools haven’t been rolled out more broadly as yet.
Found a cool @Spectacles secret! If you point your Snapchat camera at package's lettering, it gives you a special filter!— Moshe Isaacian (@MosheIsaacian) November 23, 2016
How it works: pic.twitter.com/wPSVpQjk5T
That process was released at the time Spectacles were announced, so Snap has had similar capacity in the works for some time. Facebook, however, is moving to the next stage, by making the option available to creators via AR studio, which will open up new opportunities, particularly for branded AR tie-ins.
“With AR Target Tracker, creators can develop persistent augmented reality experiences tied to images, logos and signs in the real-world - giving AR immediate context tied directly to real places and things.”
The tools will enable more exclusivity with their AR options, and more direct tie-ins to campaigns. Right now, AR Target Tracking is in closed beta, but Facebook advises that it’ll open up to all users this Spring.