Facebook gets one step closer to building your virtual copy

When it comes to representing yourself on social media, who you actually portray yourself as has always been a bit of a caricature. That thinking has always made it a little interesting to examine how a company like Facebook approaches avatar design for services like their VR avatar system.
Oculus Avatars have undergone a number of transformations and today theyre pushing an update that creates more robust facial expressions that are more human-like than the stiff representations that past iterations showcased. The new Sims-like Expressive Avatars are certainly the companys most unsettling to date, but theyre also the most ambitious.
The company calls the update, the culmination of user feedback and years of research and innovations in machine learning, engineering, and design.
Theres this oft-repeated concept of the uncanny valley where things get up to a certain point of realism but then theyre just deeply unsettling because the representation is close but not quite there. Thats more than a little evident here. Oculus initially chose to veer wide when it came to structuring its avatar system based on how people actually looked, but with their latest Expressive Avatars update, things seem to be moving in a different direction.
Facebook gets one step closer to building your virtual copy

In a blog post, the company seemed to acknowledge the risks of going all-in on realism while emphasizing that the trade-offs were worth it. They say they discovered people are simply more willing to interact with avatars when they look and behave more like humans:
Back in 2016, we made a conscious decision to avoid showing what we didnt know in order to better represent what we knew with certainty. Since then, weve learned a great deal not only about how our hardware canhelp[/i]us simulate believable behaviors with higher confidence, but also about how we can use machine learning and well-understood priors to translate subtle signals into great social presence.
The new avatars boast more realistic mouth and eye movements, a small upgrade that Facebook maintains was intensely challenging to pull off.
This could be a bit of a perilous direction to choose. After all, theres really one ideal the company can hit, recreating a perfect digital person. Theyve already copped to designing deeply human-like avatar systems; the limits here are obviously both the low power of todays consumer systems and the inabilities of the platforms to infer very much in terms of interaction and movement aside from whats captured precisely by sensors.
Facebooks new Avatar system goes live today on Oculus mobile and PC platforms.

Facebook animates photo-realistic avatars to mimic VR users faces
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«     2019    »