Facebook Talks Up Need for Virtual Reality, Big Tech Bets
Facebook said the Oculus headset will be released “before long,” but did not provide a time frame.
“After thousands of demos we know we are just on the cusp, just getting there to get that sense of presence where for a moment your conscious brain is overruled by the subconscious that says, ‘You are not where you think you are,'” Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said during his on-stage talk on the second day of the 2-day conference.
Facebook had never made clear its virtual reality plans, Vlada Bortnik, the founder of app-maker Happy Bits, said at the conference. “Their mission is to connect the world and VR teleports people into a different place.”
Facebook said it had recently conducted the first test flight of a solar-powered drone prototype. It is building drones that will fly at an altitude of up to 90,000 feet to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.
Facebook and Google are building Internet-beaming satellites and drones to connect billions of people who lack Internet access, as the companies compete to become the go-to online hub for consumers and marketers.
Facebook’s artificial intelligence group is already planning for the flood of new users by developing technology to help them cope with the surge in messages and photos on the social network.
“If we achieve our first goal, get everyone on the Internet, build services at scale for the entire planet, we create this new problem: so much information you can’t consume the stuff that’s important to you,” CTO Schroepfer said.