philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Inside the Facebook virtual reality lab building 3D video chat

nfa-morgan-fb-reality-lab-needs-tracks-and-gfx-frame-298To create an avatar that looks, moves and sounds like you, 180 cameras and 500 lights capture your face from different angles, making all sorts of silly faces, reports CBS News' DeMarco Morgan, who got an exclusive look at the social media giant's new project.

"The reason is because we want to be able to understand exactly how you look from every different viewpoint," said Yaser Sheikh, who directs the Facebook reality lab in Pittsburgh creating these avatars. "Because in virtual reality, we might move and look at you from different perspectives, and it has to look as real as you do."

"It is impossible not to ask the question, is there a dark side to this?" said Peter Rubin, a senior correspondent at Wired who covers virtual and augmented reality. "It collects a lot of data about us and increasingly about the way that we look and the way behave and the way we react to things it feels much more invasive than just having our web serving monitored."

Facebook says security is a top priority. Asked if there are any concerns about hackers, Sheikh replied, "of course."

"It's something which I consider to be the existential threat to this kind of technology. If we're not mindful of this, and develop safeguards in the system itself … It really threatens the viability of this entire medium of communication," Sheikh said.

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