Following the recent unfavorable court decision which saw a $500 million judgement levied on Oculus and some of its founders last week, Facebook has shared a glimpse into what they call “the most advanced virtual and augmented reality research center and team in the world.”

Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted photos of himself touring the Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington, where he says “some of the best scientists and engineers in the world are pushing the boundaries of virtual and augmented reality.”

The team is led by Michael Abrash and focuses on things like advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body. The goal is to make VR and AR what we all want it to be: glasses small enough to take anywhere, software that lets you experience anything, and technology that lets you interact with the virtual world just like you do with the physical one.

Oculus Rift is already the best VR experience you can buy—and the technology being built in this lab right now makes me want the future to get here a lot sooner.

Among the photos, one showed Zuckerberg wearing a pair of tracked VR gloves. He annotated each picture, which we’ve included below (click for the full description of each).

Speaking to Zuckerbeg’s visit, former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe (who recently stepped down to head the company’s newly formed Rift division), teased multiple breakthroughs that are headed to upcoming Oculus products:

Part of what made the decision to join Facebook so easy, was Mark’s commitment and shared vision around building the most advanced virtual and augmented reality research center and team in the world. It’s remarkable and inspiring to see what the team has accomplished across VR and AR in such a short amount of time.

We’re now on a path to bring a number of these breakthrough technologies into upcoming products. From advanced optics and display systems to revolutionary tracking and machine perception, we’re going to enable entire new categories of experiences and continue to blur the lines between the virtual and real world, bringing us even closer to the Holodeck.

The timing of today’s release of the photos coincided with a Valve media event hosted at their HQ (not 15 minutes down the road from the Oculus Research facility), where the company confirmed development of three new made-for-VR games.

Facebook CEO Asks for Investor Patience on VR, 'it's not going to be really profitable for us for quite a while'

Despite what trouble may result from the ZeniMax v. Oculus verdict, Zuckerberg seems to be holding steadfast in his commitment to VR and Oculus as part of Facebook’s long term vision.

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  • Adrian Meredith

    Glad to see they seem to be looking into alternate tracking systems and that RND as a whole seems to be well funded. Looking forward to the future!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      well, at the moment the tracking system you see in the photo’s is just the old IR camera version like used in most motion tracking studio’s. So it doesn’t seem very interesting at the moment (look at the many camera’s mounted)..

      • Get Schwifty!

        It’s nothing but a lab setup… people read way to much into a photo in a lab about what would ultimately emerge…

      • Sponge Bob

        there is nothing wrong with IR camera tracking other than it doesn’t work outside in sunlight and maybe cost of hi-res high fps camera (you need two at the very least, but of course the more the better)

    • Get Schwifty!

      No alternative tracking, they and frankly everyone but HTC is focused on cameras as they see more potential down the line with them than Lighthouse, despite Lighthouse’s tracking advantage currently.

      • David Addis

        I expect the next Rift to be inside-out tracking, which should do away with towers/sensors altogether. Fingers crossed, anyway…

        • Sponge Bob

          wtf cares if its “inside-out” or “outside-in” you stay in one room ?
          latency, accuracy and cost (and ease of setup to some extent) are all that matters
          mobile AR on the go – that’s different matter, but its decade(s) away

        • Get Schwifty!

          Everyone is ga-ga about inside-out tracking, but I can’t see it outside of maybe for mobile applications in limited use. For full on VR, i.e. controllers and room scale either a Lighthouse or Constellation style system is the only way for possibly a long time. Maybe in time with camera and computational improvements, we might get to the point of maybe an outside-in camera augmenting an inside-out enough that it’s a very simple setup, but I just can’t see pure inside-out handling problems of occlusion in particular with controllers, etc.

      • Caven

        Other compaies can’t use a Lighthouse-styled system (without licensing it or taking on some legal risk) because Valve has a patent application submitted for Lighthouse.

        Camera-based tracking is old enough that there’s no risk of patent violation.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Sigh…. they can easily recreate the basic use of light-based tracking… its not that tight a patent…

          I personally think a system for home and small scale (less than 100’x100′) will one day arise that will be a hybrid of both camera and Light-based systems. Larger size areas will be relegated to fine camera based most likely.

          • Sponge Bob

            you should read recent patent applications from Valve and Oculus
            Those dudes have no (corporate) shame whatsoever

            Just read chaperon patent app (there must be guardian patent app too) – obvious to 12 year old

          • Get Schwifty!

            Yeah I know right? Regardless (and I think you will agree) there is nothing that unique about Lighthouse that a few tweaks of the system wouldn’t violate patent.

          • Caven

            It’s a tight enough patent that the seemingly similar system Sony just submitted a patent application for yesterday uses a very different method of sweeping the room with lasers (US20170039959). The Valve patent (US20160131761) covers the use of rotors and laser lines to sweep the room, so Sony is using a MEMS mirror to manipulate the laser and is apparently driving a laser dot instead of a diffused line to generate what sounds like it would be a continuously shifting pattern that fills the tracking space. And since Sony patented this method, that’s one less method other companies could use for laser-based tracking.

            Anyway, even conceding the point on patent protection, Sony researching laser based tracking to the point that they submitted a brand-new patent application on the technology shows that Valve isn’t alone in finding the value of laser-based tracking. It’s especially telling in Sony’s case, since they currently use camera-based tracking, yet are researching completely different ways to do that tracking.

            I think the biggest appeal of camera-based tracking has always been the relative ease at which it could be implemented. Anyone with sufficient programming talent can create a camera-based tracking system with little more than their computer, some LEDs, and a webcam. The free TrackIR alternatives out there are proof enough of that. Laser-based tracking is a lot harder to do on a garage-workshop budget. And I can’t complain too much about cameras anyway–after the distressing nausea I got from the DK1 (even Titans of Space started making me sick), the camera-tracking of the DK2 was a big part of what reassured me that VR was still in my future.

            And finally, a sincere thank you for editing your post. I saw the original version on my phone, but had to wait until I was off work and had access to a computer to reply (since there’s no way I’ll type a post of this length on a phone). The fact that you decided to edit your post to make it less confrontational is very much appreciated. :)

  • Get Schwifty!

    For all the (sometimes justified, sometimes not) hate spewed at Oculus over timed exclusives and mocking of their decision to use a camera based sensor setup, there’s no question they have a long term commitment with a major name (Facebook) to help fund and anchor the VR industry. Even if you opt for an alternative like Vive, people should be grateful that folks like Zuckerberg, Carmack and Palmer are devotees of VR as it will help move the industry along and keep the field dynamic. This doesn’t mean you have to like them, or their decisions always but be glad they are actively pushing VR without just being in it for a few years to see what happens then ditch if a couple quarters of bad press or sales happens as most companies do. Long-term players help create confidence in outside investing.

    • Johan Pruijs

      Very well spoken!!

    • Mei Ling

      Precisely. Hate them as much as you like but you cannot argue against their passion to drive this technology forward regardless of their intentions.

    • Caven

      That sounds kind of like my take on Apple. I have no interest in ever owning an iPhone, but I’m forever grateful to Apple for kicking off the modern smartphone industry.

      • Matthew White

        I like the Iphone(if jailbroken) It’s their computers I don’t like. Or more accurately that you get like $1200 bucks worth of computer for $3500 bucks.

        • yag

          why it would be different for the iphone ? way overpriced as all Apple products…

          • Matthew White

            I mean, you’re not wrong, they are overpriced. I just like their design and how they’re made of glass and metal and just feel like quality in my hand. Also, I like their OS (if jailbroken otherwise way too locked down) I think some of their anti-consumer price gouging stuff pisses me off and as a company I think they are assholes, but damnit they make a nice phone.

    • deckert

      Good insight. I would only add that until these companies come out with the next gen of their headset/ecosystem – we really can’t say what they’ve learned or how much they really are moving the needle. Will they take the incremental route like an Apple (introduce just a lighter Headset – Vive) or will they upgrade optics – or just go wireless (no so incremental). Gen 2 and 3 will define the path moving forward.

  • Me

    Whatever you think of them Oculus and Facebook are really occupying the PR field with news after news.
    I know Gabe Newell doesn’t believe the whole hype train concept but man, I’m so tired of seeing all this Oculus stuff everywhere. ¨

    Could it be a way to hide the bad news (lost trial, less demo places, selling only half as fast as the Vive…) behind a mountain of random facts ?

    • Joan Villora Jofré

      … and Touch problems.

      It’s good to see that they are helping with VR, but this movement now its for hide all those bad news.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Touch is fine, current released software/firmware for Oculus tracking with the sensors is the issue… I don’t think they are hiding it whatsoever… and even if they did, do you honestly think Valve/HTC wouldn’t? Standard business practices really. I also don’t think they are hiding it, its just that not everyone is having issues which for some reason people don’t want to acknowledge.

        • Matthew White

          I’m perfectly happy with mine, but if I were thinking about buying a VR headset now with all this bad tracking press it would be a tougher decision. It must be killing them right now. I still think it’s better than Vive in just about every way other than tracking though.

      • Matthew White

        I’m sure they had all their marketing and stuff planned and payed for long ago.

      • Mike

        Touch and Rift are working sweet for me. I’ve had basically 0 problems on a 3-sensor 360 degree setup. I got 3 free major launch games when the Rift launched and 3 more free major launch games when Touch released.

        Sold my DK1 for a serious profit, then bought a DK2. Sold my DK2 for a serious profit and bought a CV1 and a Vive. Sold the Vive and kept the 3 free games. The performance with ASW is amazing. There’s no reason for me to go with a Vive right now. If HTC leapfrogs Oculus/Facebook software performance or hardware technology with something mindblowing I might consider it. But until then…

    • Get Schwifty!

      I don’t think that is correct, in fact I give more kudos to HTC/Valve on this point…. every time any new comes out of Oculus within 24 hours HTC or Valve releases something to the press. how you could complain about Oculus everywhere is kind of amazing, if you count articles there are easily more about HTC and Vive… I think you are perhaps filtering in your mind what is going on here. The reality is the sales are about right, a little less than 2:1 if Supernumber (I think that’s it) is correct, and having 30% or more of a market is quite good. Would you be happier if they say had 70% and Vive had 30%? Then you would shout they fooled the market. 30% and you say they failed… even if it was 55% Vive and 45% Rift you would still say they are “behind”… see my point?

      No one gives a shit about the trial to be honest, in less than three months the only people harping on it will be the same old Pro-Vive fanboy contingent, who will likely go to their graves at some point still bringing it up no matter how effective the final Oculus solution becomes. FB/Oculus will carry on, worst case it forces them to drop or replace some technologies and that is not a bad thing. The demo places thing is not a big deal really, its just a normal consolidation after a push… standard business.

      I really think you have some goggles on in regard to Oculus vs. Vive articles, I know for a fact it was reported a few months back that Google data showed searches for Vive up and I know almost anytime I read a VR article outside the usual VR sites they discuss Vive predominantly…

    • chtan

      Rift fanboys are the worse even though it is as clear as day that their tracking with multiple sensors has a problem they still grasp on the false hope of patching the problem in this gen.
      Next gen. maybe when high res. and faster port or wireless solution are available.

      As I said early on, if the product uses too many USB port it can never be a good product design due to compatibility issue with so many chipset out there.

      Found 1 very interesting read:

  • MosBen

    So, is Zuck playing a Spider-Man game there?

    • Get Schwifty!

      That would rock eh? I think its more likely a web shooter thing that everyone knows is inspired by Spider-man but I doubt they have any licensing with Marvel…

  • DougP

    Re: “Breakthrough technologies” coming to new Oculus products

    I’m glad that Valve/HTC focused on bringing the breakthrough technologies to 1st-gen products.

    Perhaps more accurately phrase title –
    “Please, we promise we’ll catch-up & get it right the 2nd or 3rd time!” …”We’ve got Facebook-deep-pockets, so if we keep throwing money at it & poaching talent…we’ll have to succeed eventually!”

    • You sound like a dick!

      • yag

        you must be the only one here who didn’t block him >_<

  • Ombra Alberto

    Good job.
    The new tracking cameras, appear to be different and more robust. well look promising.

    • Rogue Transfer

      Those aren’t new Oculus tracking cameras. They’re OptiTrack’s commercial product for professional motion-caption and have a lower field-of-view. Hence, why they need 12 of them here during their research on glove tracking.

  • OgreTactics

    Gloves are big no-no for me. Wasting a 30sec to a minute every day and more to set-up and put on a headset is already baffling, but people are not going to waste time, bulk and goof on putting 2 additional gloves.

    Especially that hand tracking does the job plenty well enough for the current non-physical interactions we’re limited to yet.

    • Sponge Bob

      agreed – noone will wear gloves

      but hand tracking e.g. leapmotion sucks big time…

      btw – IR tracking doesnt work outside in sunlight

      • OgreTactics

        I don’t know if there is such thing as simple camera VSlam like tracking method.

  • JeanClaude

    It looks to me like Zuckerberg genuinely is just excited about the prospect of VR. I feel like he is behind VR mostly because he himself wants it, and not for profit, or as a smart business move. This makes me hopeful. Off course, I think if it succeeds it will also mean loads of cash for Facebook.