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This Facebook Social VR demo seriously rocked
Some people were initially puzzled when Facebook announced that they were throwing beaucoups of cash at virtual reality development. After all, what does VR have to do with liking cat pictures and sharing terrible Minion memes? We hadn’t really gotten a clear image of what the social giant was up to with this tech until today at the F8 developer conference. It has now become evident that Facebook has a clear vision of the social potential for VR, and the demo that they used to showcase their technology was pretty damn off-the-chain.
The presentation went down something like this. Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer stepped out on stage to give a live demonstration of what the Facebook Social VR team had been hatching in early development. He donned VR equipment and entered a virtual room. Onlookers were treated to a look through his eyes on the big screens as Michael Booth, the leader of the Social VR team, stepped into the same virtual room as an avatar reminiscent of something out of Questworld from the 1996 reboot of Jonny Quest. It should be noted that Booth wasn’t physically present at the event, and was actually miles away in California.
The two chose their next destination from a collection of magic-looking orbs arrayed on the virtual table and traveled to a variety of 360-degree simulated environments before settling on London. While in virtual London, the two used 3D markers to draw ties for each other, then took a selfie of their avatars using a virtual selfie stick. The image was uploaded to Facebook directly from inside the VR interface by dropping the photograph into a magic blue box emblazoned with the letter F.
All in all, it looks like Facebook has some pretty impressive stuff up their sleeve with virtual reality. Even though it still seems like they are in the early stages of developing these sorts of environments, we look forward to seeing something similar to this hit the consumer market in the next few years. While we wait, let us know your thoughts regarding Facebook’s involvement in virtual reality in the comments below.