Teleportation is the name given by science fiction writers to the feat of making an object or person disintegrate in one place while a perfect replica appears somewhere else. Facebook just like other nerdy tech firms out there is promising its users will be able to teleport – Yes , teleport ! At least that’s what the company’s chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, meant when he said the company plans to
“effectively build a teleporter,” only that this time it’s going to virtual. “Facebook wants to build a device that allows you to be anywhere you want, with anyone, regardless of geographic boundaries,” Schroepfer said Tuesday at a press event before the Dublin Web Summit.
Before you start getting those wildly unfeasible ideas, the “teleporter” in question here is not really a teleporter in traditional sense, it’s Facebook weird name of calling its attempt to improve upon the company’s offered virtual reality experience by adding physical feedback, tricking your senses into thinking that you’re actually somewhere you’re not. Since it’s unexpected acquisition of Virtual Reality Start Up Occulus Rift for $2billion , Facebook has been rigorously trowing in new innovations to improve the Occulus Rift VR hheadset , notably among them being the Occulus Motion Controllers. The Oculus Rift DK2(development kit2) which is the latest prototype of the rift packs a 5-inch OLED display with a resolution of 960 x 1080 pixels per eye and a 100-degree field of view. The headset has a refresh rate of up to 75 Hz, with an internal- tracking update rate of 1000 Hz and a positional- tracking update rate of 60 Hz. it also has ports for HDMI and USB 2.0. Talk about the perfect gaming gadget. Though this time, Facebook is pushing its limit beyond the traditional gaming role of the headset.
Virtual Reality – Teleporter
For Facebook to achieve its lofty and slightly ambitious goal of commercialising VR gadgets that can accurately trick its users to believing that they are somewhere they are not – the company has to gather quite a lot of ingenious cards for the trick game. Firstly, would be to make it possible for the headset users to see their self while wearing the headset. One of the biggest challenges with making virtual reality feel real is allowing people to see themselves , for example, being able to look down and see their hands or feet and perharps other people. Facebook is making great progress in surmounting this challenge. In June, Oculus revealed the Oculus Touch, which replicates a user’s natural movements in VR. The Touch controllers allow you to see your hands, adding more depth to the experience. When the Touch begins shipping in the middle of 2016, it will also come with a tool called Medium. Oculus calls it “digital clay”, and according to Facebook the tool is going to allow users sculpt 3D objects using the not yet released motion controllers.
Another seemingly unsurmountable challenge is mimicking the environment of the user. Presenting the user’s environment in a near real form through whatever technological voodoo the company is able to come up with, will undoubtedly help the “virtual reality teleporter” dream. Luckily, it seems Facebook is quite good with Voodoos of this nature or at least has a foresight of buying up other companies that can perform the magic. In May, Oculus acquired Surreal Vision, a computer vision company focused on real-time 3D scene reconstruction. The idea is to utilze Surreal Vision’s expertise to build a technology
that will be able to live stream or sort of superimpose your actual environment into virtual reality. The concept is that the advantages of virtual reality like manipulating objects that aren’t there could be added into your real world. According to Surreal Vision, the company aims to overhaul “…state-of- the-art 3D scene reconstruction algorithms to provide a rich, up-to-date model of everything in the environment including people and their interactions with each other. We’re
developing breakthrough techniques to capture, interpret, manage, analyse, and
finally reproject in real-time a model of reality back to the user in a way that feels real, creating a new, mixed reality that brings together the virtual and real worlds. When released next year, The Occulus rift consumer version is expected to cost around $400, however following more improvements planned for the headset, the price is likely going go a little higher unless the company plans to retail some components individually and optionally.