With your photos, Facebook wants to reconstruct memories in virtual reality
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    • With your photos, Facebook wants to reconstruct memories in virtual reality

    With your photos, Facebook wants to reconstruct memories in virtual reality

    The company presented an innovation worthy of a science fiction film: reconstructing past situations in 3D from photographs and videos posted on its social network.

    The pensine, this magical container of memories from the Harry Potter saga, could well become reality. This is in any case one of the objectives displayed by Facebook during its F8 developer conference. Rachel Rubin Franklin, director of” social virtual reality ” of Facebook, who previously participated in the development of the PC game “The Sims”, announced there the upcoming release of the VR Memories application. The latter, in an experimental phase, reconstructs the environment around your photos and videos published on Facebook in order to relive your memories. In a statement, Facebook gives the objective of its approach: “We believe that in the future, people will be able to use this technology to revisit moments and places that matter to them, with people who are close to their heart”.

    The algorithm behind this new application works on a rather simple principle. It scans all the media captured in the same place on different dates: the photos of the last kid’s birthday, the game night five years ago, the video of a joke by a friend or the dog running around the house. Facebook then wants to position each memory in a 3D virtual space. As can be seen in the presentation video above, the program places points around the memory to recreate an environment, like a painting by Georges Seurat. Facebook explains that it uses the technique of photogrammetry: the software generates a three-dimensional vision from shots taken from different points of view.

    Virtual reality with an unreal look

    Tested by Nicole Lee, a journalist from the Engadget website, the process in demonstration is illustrated by its unreal appearance. The young woman tells of having “entered a world of pointillist art”. According to her, ” the fuzzy nature of 3D space evokes memory. After all, people do not dream in HD”. She points out, for example, that when she moves in the virtual world, the dots move to build the walls that surround her. The parallel with the dystopian series Black Mirror was quickly made by Internet users. During its presentation, the application worried some users by its intrusive side. The choice of this announcement may also surprise while Facebook has postponed the presentation of its connected speakers to avoid this concern. With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the trust of some of the users has collapsed. Indeed, researchers at the Ponemon Institute have observed a 66% drop in the number of Americans who believe Facebook is committed to protecting their privacy.

    Facebook also took advantage of the F8 to present the second edition of its virtual reality headset Oculus Go. It will be marketed for an amount of 220 euros approximately. Instagram Facebook has been developing augmented reality tools for its Messenger, Instagram and Facebook applications.

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