By Mashable – During the second day of Facebook’s F8 conference, the company showed off the latest prototype demo of its ToyBox virtual reality software. But this one offered a huge twist: VR selfies.
In the middle of his keynote, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer donned an Oculus Rift headset and met another person in VR at a remote location. In the early version of this ToyBox demo, which we saw in October, it was a real-time virtual ping-pong match. But this time, after a bit of chit-chat, Schroepfer traveled with his friend to an immersive, 360-degree environment: London.
Once there, the remote user played tour guide, showing the Oculus wearer on stage around a static 360-degree photo of London. It was impressive in that it showed the possibilities inherent in VR tourism. Using such a system, along with the Oculus headsets, a local tour guide could give another person a full tour of a location without anyone ever hopping on a plane.
But no tour is complete without a selfie, and that’s when Facebook blew our minds. The remote user pulled out a VR selfie stick, which had a virtual mirror on its end, and put his VR head next to the VR head of the Schroepfer, allowing them to take a VR selfie together in London from the comfort of their own remote environments.
And after the VR selfie, Facebook showed how the user could post it to their Facebook page by dropping it into a VR “mailbox” and watching it get beamed into the sky (ending up on your timeline).
Sure, the selfie doesn’t show their actual faces, but rather odd, polygonal drawings of their respective faces, but the demonstration was astounding nonetheless. And it’s likely just a matter of time before they’ll manage to get real faces into such an environment — and that’s when things will really get interesting. This demo was just a prototype, and it’s not available, but still… wow.
In recent weeks, Oculus has stoked anger online due to difficulties with shipping the first-generation Oculus Rift. But today’s demo may lead at least a few users to rethink their impatience with the company and take another look. VR selfies are just too cool to resist.