F8: Facebook Developer Conference (part 2)

By Robert Brown

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A photo of Facebook's 10 year roadmap

The annual Facebook Developers Conference saw 4,000 people join Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook leaders in San Jose, California. The conference offered two days of interactive demos, announcements and best practices, helping us to build communities through technology. It featured sessions on Camera, Messenger, Engineering and Open Source, Virtual Reality, Media and Publishers and much more. If you saw our post yesterday, F8: Facebook Developer Conference, we gave you a roundup of all the best bits from the first day. So here’s just some of what went down in the second and final day…

Augmented Reality

Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash discussing Augmented Reality

On day 1, Zuckerberg opened up his keynote by informing us of Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform, which is the first mainstream version of augmented reality. On day 2 however, Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash, went on to talk about the future of full augmented reality. His vision is that it will enhance your sight and hearing as well as being light, comfortable and able go everywhere with you. This will need to be something such as transparent lenses or glasses, so the decade-long investment still requires major advances in science before it is fully possible.

Further down the road he expects virtual computing, which includes both virtual and augmented reality. It will ultimately give people the ability to transcend time and space.

A Facebook employee talking about Building 8

This mysterious building is actually the product development and research team at Facebook, who are focused on creating new social products for the world. The Head of Building 8 stated that they seek to build products that “recognize we are both mind and body, that our world is both digital and physical, that seek to connect us with the power and possibility of what’s new whilst honoring the intimacy and the richness of what’s timeless.” 

They told us of two projects on silent speech communication, which will allow people to type using only their brain. The goal is 100 words per minute, a whole 5x faster than we can type on smartphones today. One question raised was how they will manage to unjumble our thoughts, but ultimately it is about decoding words that we have already decided to share by sending it to the speech center of our brains.

Lastly, they talked about the idea of allowing people to hear with their skin, which would undoubtedly be a major advancement for those with hearing-related disabilities. 

F8 has showcased a whole range of rich technological advancements over the last few days, which whilst understandably scary to some, is very exciting to see. It was particularly enthusing to see the way in which Building 8 are working to make a stronger connection between the brain and technology, particularly helping those who are unable to communicate otherwise. You can watch the full thing for yourself by going to the F8 website or read about even more of the products and features from the last day on the Facebook newsroom

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