Facebook has finally started to sell Oculus Go, its cordless VR headset. Priced at $200 (roughly Rs. 13,300), the Oculus Go is quite cheap and the social media giant is planning to target a more mainstream audience than virtual reality devices from rival companies. The company’s executives shared several other updates at Tuesday’s F8 keynote, where some interesting new things about Facebook’s experiments with AI and VR were announced.
‘VR Memories,’ Facebook’s last announcement at the F8 keynote on Tuesday, is a unique feature that will take your old pictures and turn them into VR experiences in 3D. Facebook will leverage computing vision, photogrammetry, and machine-learning algorithms, to turn 2D photos into spatial point clouds or 3D ‘spaces’. Since there are practical limitations to rendering large areas with some 2D images, it also gives an impressionistic theme to the images.
As per Facebook’s head of social VR, Rachel Franklin, “It is like a Facebook album that has come to life.” The company appears to be pitching the new feature to make people use VR more so that they can dig into their memories. You will be able to strap on a VR headset, such as the Oculus Go, and travel deep into Facebook’s version of your childhood memory place. Within this environment, you will also be able to see image thumbnails, videos, and more. Also, in these spaces friends and family could enter together, said Facebook in a demo.
Facebook did not provide much clarity on the upcoming feature, meaning it is in the early stages of development. It will be interesting to see how many images will the feature need to churn of 3D point cloud models. If Facebook promises that it can recreate your childhood homes in virtual reality, as of now, it will need lots of data. The new feature, though slightly odd, may have potential in several other areas, such as photo editing. It will also be interesting to check out how Facebook will deal with privacy features of ‘VR memories’, especially amid the crisis that unfolded in recent weeks over the sharing of personal user data.