The annual two-day event hosted by Facebook and simply named F8 is an occasion for the company’s developer community to share know-how and explore the possibility of adding new technologies to social media and messaging platforms owned by Facebook. This year, a significant part of the discussions and revealed projects to be launched in the near future have to do with augmented and virtual reality.
Forging Its Path Ahead in AR and VR
Facebook is already an important player in the augmented reality and virtual reality world. The social media giant owns Oculus – the VR headset producer and VR content platform – and it has already launched a virtual reality social media platform: Facebook Places.
During the recent F8 event, which took place in San Jose on May 1st and 2nd, various division managers and developers shared what Facebook, Instagram and Oculus users may expect in the near future.
Augmented Reality for Facebook Messenger
One of the most discussed upcoming features of Messenger is the addition of AR capacities. Thus, brands will be able to offer their followers various immersive experiences, both before and after a purchase. By uploading holographic models of their products into the messaging app, companies can offer immersive and interactive tutorials and try-before-you-buy experiences.
AR for Messenger will be soon released as closed beta version for selected users and brands, but will roll out later in the year.
Oculus Go – the Tetherless Virtual Reality Headset Is Released
Moving from augmented to virtual reality, the Oculus division of Facebook confirmed the official launch of Oculus Go, a new VR headset concept. The new device delivers HD images and spatial sound without being tethered to a computer. Made from lightweight and breathable materials and foam injection pads, Oculus Go is extremely comfortable and can be worn for an extended period of time.
Together with the product launch, Facebook also announced new content platforms, originally created for Gear VR, which will be available for Oculus Go users: Oculus Venues, Oculus Rooms and Oculus TV.
AR Camera Effects for Instagram
One year after announcing its intention to add augmented reality filters to Instagram camera, Facebook has officially confirmed that the feature will start rolling out to users. The filters will be created on the AR Studio platform and can range from face filters to world effects.
The First View of the Capacities of a Prototype Virtual Reality System
During the F8 event, Facebook engineers also presented a side-by-side video showing the same room: in one panel, the real-life video, in the other, the virtual reality rendering.
Our research scientists have created a prototype system that can generate 3D reconstructions of physical spaces with surprisingly convincing results. The video below shows a side-by-side comparison between normal footage and a 3D reconstruction. It's hard to tell the difference. (Spoiler: Look for the camera operator's foot, which appears only in the regular video.)
Posted by Facebook Engineering on Wednesday, May 2, 2018
The VR model is extremely realistic, being almost indistinguishable from the actual film. It is likely that this prototype system will be developed into a new feature to be added to Facebook and Instagram to create realistic-looking avatars.