The Occulus Connect 3 event took place yesterday and was it awesome? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the fantastic new capabilities of his company’s VR arm by answering a Messenger video call from his wife while popping in to check on his dog (who was at home) immersed in Facebook’s brand new, social VR environment.All the while, he was on stage at the Occulus Connect 3 conference.
Before going any further, lets give the new social VR environment, which was also announced at the Occulus event, a look. Keep reading, I promise it is going to be very, very exciting.
So, the VR environment is something that Facebook has some up fairly recently. The technology was demoed today at the Oculus’ Connect conference and is capable of providing whole new levels of virtual reality based experiences. Basically, the system is capable of overlaying VR avatars of people who are somewhere else, on top of your vision so that its like they are there with you.
To put it in words that would be easier to understand: You have probably watched Star Wars or some other Sci-Fi where they had these holograms that could come up and talk, right? Though they lacked substance and were made of light, the holograms did a pretty good job of mimicking a real, live person. Facebook’s new tech that was demoed today, is a toned down version of these Holograms, and instead of portraying the other person live, it projects their virtual avatars.
The picture above may be kind of hard to decipher. I mean, who is actually there and who isn’t? Here is how Zuckerberg explains the picture:
I took this family selfie while doing a live demo in front of 100,000 people. That’s me in VR, Priscilla video called in with Messenger, and Beast was just hanging out with his ball in front of a camera at our home. We were all in there together!
So, the picture was taken while Zuckerberg was on stage at the Occulus Connect event. Priscilla Chan was somewhere else and called in from the Facebook Messenger and Beast, the Zuckerberg’s dog who can be seen lolling in the background, was the only one home. Notice that the background is of the Zuckerberg’s home. So basically, Mark and Priscilla were projected in their home together and even clicked a selfie — even though they were in different places at the time.
That is Zuckerberg picking up his messenger call using a device on his wrist that does not even exist in reality. Zuckerberg is still on stage at the Occulus event, but since the new VR environment lets you take 360 degree scenes and project yourself and your friends into them, Zuckerberg is able to pop in home to quickly check on his dog.
Here is what Zuckerberg and his surroundings look like to Priscilla, who is at the other end of the call and is not directly using VR tech but has simply placed s video call using Facebook Messenger.
Notice the avatar in the upper left hand corner? That is Zuckerberg and as Chan remarked, he does look rather like Justin Timberlake.
Earlier, while on stage at the Occulus event, Mark Zuckerberg started off by inviting a couple of his friends over using virtual reality. The avatars of his friends were overlaid over the actual reality. They could move, laugh, make eye contact and could do a lot of things a real human would do, taking the whole, communications experience to an all new level.
Home is just one place, Zuckerberg showed that you could go to a lot of more exciting destinations as well, such as exotic locations, under the sea or even Mars.
You can also invite you buddies to a game of cards, chess, virtually anything. Notice that the background is different yet again. And all the while, the three people involved in the call, that is Michael , Lucy and Zuckerberg himself, haven’t moved a feet from their original positions.
The card game was followed by a sword fight, where Michael proceeded to duel with Zuckerberg after drawing up a red fencing sword. The battle ended with both guys surrendering to Lucy, who came up with her own light sabre.
You can also create screens and project them at whatever size you want, freeing you from the constraints of your mobile size. It is virtual reality after all! Check out the confused looking eagle right below.
Undoubtedly, this technology has the potential to change the way we picture VR. The usage of this tech in communications, in gaming, in education, are virtually limitless and it has the ability to revolutionize each of these sectors. Imagine hanging out with your friends on Mars, attending classes in VR, attending get-together events while at home — Mark Zuckerberg may just have introduced something with the potential to change our way of life.
Well, VR has received a push in an all new direction, with Occulus getting a head-start over its competitors.
Feel up to some sword fighting with your buddies yet? Do tell us what you think of this new technology and what could be some of your favorite usages, once it is made publicly available.