FACEBOOK is working to create lifelike avatars of its users so that one day humans could attend social events without even leaving the house.
The company’s Reality Labs research division has been using virtual reality (VR) to create ‘lifelike’ 3D clones of human faces.
Facebook Reality Labs director of research Yaser Sheikh wants to create new and better ways for people to sustain long distance relationships with friends and family.
He said: “Right now, proximity determines whom we have relationships with. The real promise of augmented reality and virtual reality is that it lets us spend time with whomever we wish and build meaningful relationships no matter where people live.”
The project is called Codec Avatars and could allow people in the future to create virtual avatars of themselves quickly and easily.
Facebook believes highly accurate VR versions of people could be a game changer for social networking.
The Codec Avatars project aims to make connecting with people through VR headsets and AR glasses feel as realistic as possible.
Facebook want to make this VR experience as natural and as effortless as connecting with someone in front of you.
A series of videos produced by Facebook show how lifelike Codec Avatars, which appear as floating heads, can converse with each other and replicate real facial expressions with second by second detail.
This technology has been under development for many years now but work still needs to be done to improve the mouth details of the avatars, their ‘expression quality’ and eye contact.
The avatars are created using ‘capture studios’ in which a person must sit so details about their face and body can be gathered using 1,700 microphones and hundreds of high-resolution cameras.
The large amount of microphones is said to enable the reconstruction of sound in 3D.
Facebook has a made a prototype of the headset that needs to be worn in order to see the 3D avatars, which uses infrared lasers to beam the avatars into view.
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Would you want to socialise through an avatar version of yourself? Let us know in the comments…