Wish you lived in a world where a teleporter is a real thing? Facebook has you covered — sort of.
The social media giant has announced that it’s developing a teleporter, except it isn’t really. Facebook is fiddling with semantics a bit by calling this technological innovation — planned for a 2025 release — a teleporter.
Basically, what Facebook is developing is a really advanced virtual reality, but the kinks in the technology are still being worked out. According to Tech Times, Facebook’s “teleporter” is being given the name because it’ll let users be anywhere in the world, said Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, who announced the sci-fi plans at the Dublin Web Summit.
“Facebook wants to build a device that allows you to be anywhere you want, with anyone, regardless of geographic boundaries.”
— Mashable Dev&Design (@mashdevdesign) November 4, 2015
Technically, that is a teleporter. But come 2025, no one’s physical body is going to travel from their basement in the suburbs to the peak of Mount Everest in an instant. Instead, Facebook’s teleporter will trick the human senses into believing the body is on Mount Everest, even though they haven’t actually moved an inch.
Facebook plans to achieve this through a partnership with two technologies — Oculus Rift and Oculus partner Surreal Vision. The teleporter will be made possible by tweaking and improving three elements of virtual reality, Business Insider explained.
If this works, Facebook’s teleporter will trick you into believing the virtual world is real, will imitate the real world in real-time, and let anyone create anything in 3D.
Firstly, Facebook’s teleporter will use Oculus Touch controllers to see yourself and other people, which is one factor that keeps virtual reality from feeling like actual reality. These controllers will allow users to interact with the environment and feel as though they can see their own hands. They’ll also replicate their movements to add more depth, Mashable added. Users’ avatars will also be able to imitate their facial expressions through pressure sensors and cameras, making them more life-like.
“It’s incredible how quickly your brain thinks it’s with another real person,” Facebook’s Schroepfer said. (Which is kind of a creepy thought.)
Next, the environment’s in these pretend worlds must also look authentic. Surreal Vision’s 3D technology is supposed to make that possible. The computer vision company is right now figuring out how to model the world and then rebuild it in virtual reality in real time, in 3D.
According to Facebook’s Schroepfer, the possibilities are “enormous.”
The final element needed to build Facebook’s teleporter is to let users create their own worlds, without spending tons of money or going through lots of training. Oculus Touch controllers will be outfitted with something called the Medium program, which lets people sculpt 3D objects in their virtual worlds. The process is so simple, anyone will be able to create their own virtual worlds.
Facebook bought Oculus VR last year for $2 billion and together, they’ll release the Oculus Rift headset early next year. The Touch was announced in June, and it will be outfitted with the Medium tool, described by the company as “digital clay” that lets users mold objects with the controllers, Mashable added.
Facebook is in the early stages of teleporter development, which they have been mulling over and working on for a while. But a lot of work is needed to make the teleporter actually work the way it’s planned. Facebook is dreaming big, too.
The company sees the technology as a way to “democratize experiences and information,” Insider noted. Through this so-called teleporter, anyone, anywhere in the world can hang out with people and do things pretty much anywhere in the world.
Which is pretty much what Facebook does right now. The teleporter just takes it to the next level.
[Photo By Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock]