20.04.17

Facebook demonstrates continued commitment to AR and VR

Mark Zuckerberg at F8

Facebook put AR and VR at the centre of its vision for the future when it outlined forthcoming releases and plans at the F8 Developers Conference this week. The event, held April 18 and 19 in San Jose, also saw the tech giant hint at plans to let you hear with your skin and security features for Facebook Workplace that it hopes will get a warm reception from IT managers.

Facebook Workplace is a business version of Facebook launched last year. New features are designed to ensure that documents and content are only shared with authorised users. Facebook Live can now also be used with professional video gear and the company announced integration with BlueJeans Network. 

The second generation of Facebook’s Surround 360 video camera design is also on its way to offer both larger and small, more portable versions. The larger model, the x24, has a 24-camera array, while the smaller x6 model has six cameras. Both units capture 8K quality and have features that will add depth and perspective to a VR scene.

Previously Facebook only released design schematics for cameras but it said it would now work with hardware partners to sell finished products this year. 

There were other developments designed to make VR more inclusive; from content creation to sharing of video and even ways to socially interact in VR spaces. 

New effects were outlined for AR, making it easy for users to overlay content on real world scenes. Facebook offered a vision of the future where people could leave virtual notes or artwork in public spaces.

The company also revealed that its advanced hardware group is working on technology that allowed people to hear through their skin. Apart from the obvious advantages to people with hearing loss, there are also other applications, such as automatic translation. The group is also looking at methods to translate thoughts into typed words.