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Oculus Research is now the ‘Facebook Reality Lab’

Oculus Research is getting a new name. As the AR/VR-focused research group grows more instrumental to the future of Facebook at large, the group will now be called Facebook Reality Lab. The announcement was made by Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash in a post on his personal Facebook page.

It’s just a name change, but the announcement marks a further entrenching of AR/VR initiatives once confined to Oculus inside the Facebook org.

Oculus Research doesn’t just work on new types of VR hardware, a lot of the group’s research also touches on foundational AR/VR software and environment tracking tech. With Facebook’s AR Camera Effects tech now integrated across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, perhaps this name change signifies that the technologies being developed are no longer just falling into Oculus’s purview and Facebook wants to make that more clear.

In addition to the Camera team, it’s clear from announcements at F8 that Facebook is also tapping a lot of new research to strengthen its work on avatars inside its Spaces virtual reality app.

Oculus has been growing closer to Facebook organizationally since a leadership shakeup in late 2016 saw then-CEO Brendan Iribe step down to lead a PC-focused VR division with Hugo Barra later being hired as VP of VR at Facebook inside Zuckerberg’s inner circle. Ads exec Andrew Bosworth became the VP of AR/VR in August and is now leading the company’s consumer hardware efforts being worked at inside the Building 8 group.

“This new name (Facebook Reality Labs) is reflective of the new role our research and development group plays not only at Oculus, but also across Facebook’s AR/VR organization, which includes Building 8, Camera, and Social VR,” an Oculus spokesperson told TechCrunch.

HTC drops price of Vive by $200 as it looks to compete with Facebook’s aggressive VR pricing

 Just as reality appears to be getting worse by the day, VR companies are doing the lord’s work and making the price of escaping it a bit more accessible. HTC is dropping the price of its Vive virtual reality system from $799 to $599 as the Taiwanese tech giant seeks to compete with aggressive price cuts coming from Facebook-owned Oculus and their Rift headset. At the beginning of the… Read More

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New border wall bill draws on Palmer Luckey’s new defense company

 After being ousted from the VR empire he built, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is wasting no time on his next project: building the wall. As CNN reports, Luckey’s newfound interest in defense is evident in the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology (SMART) Act, proposed by Texas Representative Will Hurd. Hurd partnered with other Republican representatives from border states… Read More

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Crunch Report | SpaceX Successfully Re-launches a Rocket

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey leaves Facebook, SpaceX successfully re-launches a rocket, Cloudera files for IPO and Snapchat now allows you to search Stories. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Hugo Barra joins Facebook to lead its VR efforts, including Oculus

16265529_10103456684228891_2797602321406032996_n Hugo Barra, who previously held a positions as a key VP for Android at Google, and led Xiaomi’s international efforts in a VP role at the Chinese company, is now joining Facebook. Barra announced his departure from Xiaomi on January 22, after a three-and-a-half year stint at the company. Barra will lead all of Facebook’s VR efforts, including Oculus, according to Facebook CEO… Read More

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Yes, this detailed 3D-printed model was sculpted in VR, and it's just the start

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Getting people to believe that high-end virtual reality is truly immersive can be difficult if they haven’t tried devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive first-hand. 

That gap of disbelief gets even wider when you try to convince the uninitiated that incredibly detailed, near retail-ready 3D-printed models are being born in VR, but this week we got our best example of exactly what’s possible. 

On Tuesday, Oculus character artist Giovanni Nakpil posted an amazingly detailed, 3D-printed model of an ogre modeled in Oculus Medium, the VR sculpting app, and then output via 3D printer.   Read more…

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