At the company’s Seattle, Washington office there are job listings for a ‘product designer - AR platform’ and a ‘product design prototyper - AR experiences’. Meanwhile at its Menlo Park, California branch, it’s hiring for a ‘head of AR/VR marketing strategy and operations'.
Each of these job listings mentions AR glasses, with the marketing role specifically stating:
“In the future, our AR glasses will merge the physical and digital worlds, blending what's real with what's possible, resulting in the next mainstream, must-have, wearable consumer technology.”
The product designer job meanwhile mentions that Oculus is recruiting to its team of designers who are “inventing the future of augmented reality and help define wearable AR experiences for Facebook”.
These aren’t the only roles Facebook is hiring in for AR. Across its various offices, the firm has vacancies related to the technology, including partnerships manager, market analytics managers, software engineering and more. These listings do not specifically mention AR glasses, however.
"Of course we're working on it"
Facebook’s head of augmented reality Ficus Kirkpatrick previously confirmed to TechCrunch that “of course we’re working” on an augmented reality headset.
“We are building hardware products,” he said back in October 2018.
“We’re going forward on this . . . We want to see those glasses come into reality, and I think we want to play our part in helping to bring them there.”
In January 2019, Business Insider reported that Facebook moved hundreds of staff from its Facebook Reality Labs research unit onto a team focused on developing a standalone AR product.
One source claimed around 400 people from the research team may have been put on the project, though Facebook representative Tera Randall said it was “a few hundred”.
Former Valve developer and Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash is heading up the AR team with Facebook VP of AR and VR Andrew Bosworth.
The report when on to claim that AR glasses have already been built into a physical prototype, with the hardware potentially being prepped for a 2022 launch.
Facebook and Oculus have previously focused on the virtual reality market with headsets such as the Oculus Rift, Go, Quest and Rift S.
But with VR’s slow growth, Facebook may see an opportunity to put its vast teams to work on AR/mixed reality headsets to compete with the likes of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap.
It looks likely in the next couple of years that another tech giant, Apple, will also step into the space. A 2017 patent filing from the iPhone maker recently surfaced that suggested work on an AR/MR headset.
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