Facebook Bets On Realistic Face Tracked Avatars As Key To VR’s Future

facebook codec avatars

Dozens of people are working at Facebook Reality Lab in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on research into ultra-realistic avatars that could redefine communication in the 21st century.

I spoke by phone with Yaser Sheikh, a Carnegie Mellon University associate professor running VR research in the city for Facebook since 2015. Sheikh offered context on a technical blog post released this week which details the company’s research toward ultra-realistic avatars. I followed up with Facebook over email for clarification after the call.

“Facebook Reality Lab Pittsburgh can accommodate close to 100 people,” the email explains. “To accommodate the team’s growth, FRL Pittsburgh will be moving into a larger building in Pittsburgh later this year.”

That suggests a big investment toward the future of the team. The group is also not the only one at Facebook researching more realistic and personalized avatars. To be clear, Facebook says this technology is “years away” from being realized in consumer headsets.