Facebook’s AR Project Aria to gather data in Singapore – the first outside U.S – next month

Come next month, do not be alarmed to see someone wearing a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses walking around in Gardens by the Bay. This person will even wear a lanyard with a badge. Not the kind of badge that non-maskers demand, but it is a badge that directs you to learn more about Facebook’s Project Aria.

Project Aria researchers will wear clothing and lanyard to identify themselves. (Photo: Facebook Reality Labs)

Project Aria is a research device that is worn like regular glasses. It will help the social media giant understands how to build the software and hardware necessary for future AR devices. The glasses are not a consumer product nor a prototype.

This is the first time Facebook will be using the device for research in public outside of the U.S. And Facebook will be collecting data around several public landmarks like Merlion, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay, starting from Sep.

Project Aria glasses. (Photo: Facebook Reality Labs)

According to Mr Nathan White, Facebook’s AR lead, Singapore is chosen due its diverse and multicultural society. As Project Aria is a research effort, having it here allows Facebook to collect a broad range of data. Furthermore, Singapore is Facebook’s regional headquarters and an important base for their teams working in the region.

On the duration of the public testing, Facebook was not able to share a specific timeline. Instead, it is just focusing on launching the program here with a small group of participants.

The Project Aria glasses will capture the wearer’s video and audio, as well as their eye tracking and location information. Data gathered will be encrypted and stored securely. For instance, faces in the public will be blurred similar to how Google does it with Google Maps.

Faces will be blurred in the collection of data for Project Aria. (Photo: Facebook Reality Labs)

By collecting data from a first-person perspective, the device will let Facebook’s researchers explore what data AR glasses will need to capture in actual use as well as how AI can use those data to present future users with relevant information and relevant options.

For more information, you can visit the Project Aria website.

Trevor Tan

Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.
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