Latest Blog: Next Developments in Virtual Reality Socialising – it’s going to be BIG!

In recent weeks, Facebook have announced a new strategy towards the development of virtual reality and socialising capabilities. They have recognised not only the need for such technology, but the extent to which this technology needs to evolve. Looking at intuitive tech that can ‘teleport’ users to places around the world and allows people to call others at a click of their fingers.

This new 10-year plan will aim to create “a contextually aware, AI-powered interface for augmented reality (AR) glasses that can use the information you choose to share, to infer what you want to do, when you want to do it”.

The chief scientist of Facebook’s research division, Michael Abrash, said: “In order for AR to become truly ubiquitous, you need low-friction, always-available technology that’s so intuitive to use that it becomes an extension of your body. That’s a far cry from where [human computer interfaces are] today.”

What could that look like?

In order to create such sophisticated technology, the ‘Reality Lab’ at Facebook are looking to use a user’s own nervous system as part of the process. A slightly daunting thought but one that makes sense if they are looking to ensure a smooth and effective experience. What better than to make a virtual experience as real as possible?

“This approach uses electrical signals that travel from the spinal cord to the hand, in order to control the functions of a device based on signal decoding at the wrist. The signals through the wrist are so clear that EMG can detect finger motion of just a millimetre. That means input can be effortless – as effortless as clicking a virtual, always-available button – and ultimately it may even be possible to sense just the intention to move a finger.” Michael Abrash

This proposal is a long way from the current virtual socialising scene.

Society and Climate Change

After the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, Facebook has primarily focused on developing gaming experiences but now, they are looking to invest more into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Hoping to create mainstream technology that with revolutionise ‘socialising’ as we know it.

Mark Zuckerberg has also highlighted that this development will not only improve socialising capabilities, but will also be a positive outlook for society and can assist in tackling climate change too. That it can provide greater inclusivity, reduce concerns of travel and bring people together more effectively.

“The more that we can teleport around, not only are we personally eliminating commutes and stuff that’s kind of a drag for us individually, but I think that’s better for society and for the planet overall, too.” Mark Zuckerberg

What do you think?

Are you ready for tech like this? How do you feel about using your own nervous system to drive technology? Genius or terrifying?


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