Facebook unveils an augmented reality bracelet

Numerous Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) investors and users do not realize that the company is devoting considerable resources to the development of next-generation human-machine interface (HMI) technology. That may be about to change: On Thursday, the social media giant (and somewhat under-the-radar hardware developer) unveiled a bracelet that will be a component of an augmented reality (AR) system.

AR combines computer-generated elements with aspects of the real world; although still at a relatively early stage, it is nonetheless used in a variety of applications, such as games.

Image source: Getty Images.

Facebook’s bracelet will essentially serve as a controller for the company’s AR glasses, a product in development for years. CEO Mark Zuckerberg strongly believes such devices will become mainstream by 2030. His company plans to release a preliminary set later this year, but its functionality will be limited.

Choosing a strap as the controller for AR headsets is unusual. In its official blog, the company’s Facebook Reality Labs unit explained:

The wrist is a traditional place to wear a watch, which means it could reasonably fit into everyday life and social settings. It is a comfortable place to wear all day. It’s located right next to the main instruments you use to interact with the world: your hands.

The device indeed looks like a watch, although rather bulky. Facebook said the bracelet works by electromyography (EMG), a method by which sensors interpret the body’s electrical motor nerve signals, “translating” them into digital instructions that control a device.

By overstating the bracelet’s potential, Facebook has offered no projection of how it, or its broader AR system, might affect its business fundamentals.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are heterogeneous! Challenging an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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