Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.”
The group has already built an internal prototype, which a source reportedly described as looking similar to a regular set of glasses.
Facebook has made no secret out of its interest in developing AR hardware. However, executives have cautioned in the past that a mass-market product may still be many years away.
Michael Abrash, who until recently was chief scientist for Oculus and is now leading Facebook’s AR and VR research out of its Reality Labs group, has been talking about the company’s work in AR for some time.
In a talk given at Facebook’s Oculus Connect developer conference last October, Abrash suggested that the best implementation of AR for the foreseeable future would be a headset that blends both AR and VR experiences — an approach that is reportedly also being taken by Apple for its AR hardware efforts.
News of Facebook’s AR headset plans comes just as Meta, a pioneering AR headset maker, has thrown the towel. Earlier on Friday, Variety reported that Meta had struggled to raise new funding, and ultimately had its assets sold to a mystery buyer.