Facebook’s New Wrist-Based Wearable Lets You Interact With Augmented Reality

Facebook is building an interface for Augmented Reality (AR) that won’t force us to choose ...

Image credit: Facebook

Facebook is building an interface for Augmented Reality (AR) that won’t force us to choose between interacting with our devices and the world around us. The social media giant is developing natural, intuitive ways to interact with always-available AR glasses because the company believes this will transform the way we connect with people near and far.

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“Imagine being able to teleport anywhere in the world to have shared experiences with the people who matter most in your life — no matter where they happen to be,” says Andrew Bosworth, who leads FRL. “That’s the promise of AR glasses. It’s a fusion of the real world and the virtual world in a way that fundamentally enhances daily life for the better.”

Rather than dragging our attention to the periphery in the palm of our hand like our mobile phones, AR glasses will see the world exactly as we see it, placing people at the center of the computing experience for the first time and bringing the digital world to us in three dimensions to help us communicate, navigate, learn, share, and take action in the world, Facebook said in a blog post.

The future of the Human-Computer Interface demands an exceptionally easy-to-use, reliable, and private interface that lets us remain completely present in the real world at all times. Two of the most critical elements are contextually aware AI that understands our commands and actions as well as the context and environment around us, and technology to let us communicate with the system effortlessly — an approach we call ultra-low-friction input.

Although the system is many years off, Facebook wants to develop the wristband to enable controls such as being able to touch and move VR objects or type on a virtual keyboard at high speed.

Read more: Facebook is Reportedly Working On a Smartwatch With Focus on Messaging and Health

Why the wrist?

“There are many other input sources available, all of them useful. Voice is intuitive, but not private enough for the public sphere or reliable enough due to background noise. A separate device you could store in your pocket like a phone or a game controller adds a layer of friction between you and your environment. As we explored the possibilities, placing an input device at the wrist became the clear answer: The wrist is a traditional place to wear a watch, meaning it could reasonably fit into everyday life and social contexts. It’s a comfortable location for all-day wear. It’s located right next to the primary instruments you use to interact with the world — your hands. This proximity would allow us to bring the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful, and satisfying interaction,” Facebook said.

Sam Draper
September 24, 2021

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