Facebook hid secret portals inside Ready Player One movie posters

Facebook's in-app camera will augment your reality. Movies are just the start.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read

Apple, Google, and now Facebook -- each will let developers turn your phone into a window to another world. Just point your camera at a poster, and computer-generated characters and objects can augment your world.

Case in point: Facebook app's built-in camera can now unlock a secret little portal inside any poster from the new Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One, according to Facebook.

Say hello to The Iron Giant:

While Facebook's app knows enough to recognize the poster, you can also use it with a traditional QR code for installations like this mural:

Here's how Facebook describes the "Target Tracker" tech:

Facebook's AR Target Tracker effects make 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. The technology, designed for the Facebook camera, allows the camera to track an image and open an immersive experience. Augmented reality can be anchored on any flat surface for the effect to show up as an overlay in the Facebook camera.  

While Facebook's calling it a "closed beta" for now, it won't be for long. The company says it'll distribute a toolkit to developers this spring so they can build branded experiences, games and more.

Facebook also hints that more devices can use its AR camera than work with Google's ARCore and Apple's ARKit. While those competing solutions typically require a recent phone, Facebook says any Android device released since 2012, and any iPhone 5S or newer, should do the trick. 

"Our vision is that in the future, AR will be in the world around us and not just in the ephemeral "capture and share" sessions we see today," a Facebook rep tells CNET.

You can read more about Facebook's AR tech in this blog post, and more about CEO Mark Zuckerberg's augmented reality ambitions in this CNET story.

via The Verge

Disclosure: Sean's wife works for Facebook as a business-to-business video producer.