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Facebook Wants To Bring People Entirely Into Virtual Reality Avatars

Facebook Wants To Bring People Entirely Into Virtual Reality Avatars

Facebook has been working on redesigning its app and web platform, to gear it more towards privacy. But the company had to announce recently that they are working on putting people entirely into Facebook.

Facebook is working on full-body virtual reality avatars that look and move just like real people, in hopes of making the technology feel even more engaging and immersive.

The company is making and animating anatomically correct models of the human skeleton and overlying muscle and skin, it announced at its annual F8 developer conference. It is tracking how humans move in real time and replicating their movements in VR.

The company is also reconstructing and simulating the actual clothing a person is wearing, using physics-based software to figure out how clothing should move virtually when they do things such as dance or stretch.

Current avatars in VR apps are quite limited, though they have improved in recent years. Your virtual persona likely only consists of a head and hands, since those are the two areas of the body whose motion can be tracked with existing consumer VR headsets and controllers.

On Facebook  Oculus Quest VR headset, for example, even if you look down and see an entire body, you can only control the head and hands. Customization options, including those that Oculus offers in its apps, lean more toward making your animated persona a fantasy or cartoon version of yourself.

Facebook Reality Lab's research manager, Ronald Mallet said that this kind of fully-tracked full-body avatar is still far off in the future. One challenge is that there isn't currently a way for people to generate these digital versions of themselves with off-the-shelf sensors. Facebook will also need to determine how best to keep these avatars secure. We're still years away from this kind of technology in consumer headsets.

Facebook Reality Lab states that the goal is to overcome the challenges of the actual distance between people and systems. Facebook is utilizing new groundbreaking 3D capture technology and AI systems with their Codec Avatars to address that issue.

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