Facebook Oculus demos a Virtual Reality Selfie Stick at F8 Conference — Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer strapped into Oculus’s Toy Box social den. There, 360 photos will appear as handheld spheres you can rotate to look at. But when smashed against your face, you’ll instantly teleported to where the photo was taken so you can look around however you want.
With a VR selfie stick, you’ll be able to take a photo of your avatar and a friend’s in front of Big Ben or other world landmarks. You can even draw on your avatar to add sunglasses or a bow tie. And once you have a photo you like, you can push it into a virtual Facebook mailbox to post it to the social network.
Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook sees virtual reality as not only the future of gaming and cinema, but also socializing. But that doesn’t mean just looking at a News Feed in VR. Facebook and Oculus are trying to build native social experiences on the virtual plane.
Not everyone can afford to travel to see family or visit the wonders of the world. But as the price of truly immersive and interactive virtual reality like the Oculus Rift comes down, you’ll be able to feel like you’re in the same room as your love ones, and then go anywhere together.
Facebook Product Manager Michael Booth said,
Over the past few months, Oculus and others have ushered in the “virtual age,” in which VR is a consumer technology. This is incredible, sci-fi level stuff – put on the GearVR or Rift and you’re transported, completely immersed and present in a virtual world. You feel like you’re actually *there*.
Today at F8, Schrep and I demonstrated a simple exploration we’ve hacked together which shows the potential of VR for social interactions. Physically, he was in San Francisco and I was 30 miles away in Menlo Park, but as soon as we both put on our headsets we were together, sharing the same virtual space. But it was more than just an awesome conference call – we could visit faraway places, literally stepping into 360 photos, touring the sights of London, and visiting the hangar where Facebook’s Aquila unmanned aerial vehicle is housed. We could be creative together, using virtual pens to draw objects and decorate our avatars. We could create new memories, and even take a VR selfie and post it back to News Feed.
This is just the beginning of our exploration into how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology. There’s a lot more work to do and many more challenges to solve — such as how to better model ourselves within VR, so we can elevate “presence” from a disembodied head and hands to a more expressive model of a person. Our engineering and research teams are also working to improve the tracking, optics, and audio technologies that make VR feel so real. There’s much more to come as my team and Daniel James’ team continue to push forward, working closely alongside Oculus and other teams at Facebook, as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform.
We’re building the foundations of tomorrow’s social VR experiences, and we couldn’t be more excited. Onwards!