It may sound like science fiction, but it’s a future that Facebook is building inside our labs. And today, we’ll share our vision for how people will interact with the future of teleportation.
There is an end times Christian movie from the 1990’s called Apocalypse 2: Revelation, and while I very enjoy watching it I will also admit it’s a tad dated and a tad cheesy, but in the best possible way if you love end times bible prophecy. A full copy of that film is at the bottom of this article, and I highly suggest you watch it. The main scene I want you to see in the scene in which the actors put on Augmented Reality (AR) glasses on something called the Day of Wonders.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:16-18 (KJB)
When you watch that scene I want you to then come back to this article to see the connection. As it turns out, instead of being a cheesy, Christian end times movie, it’s actually more like predictive programming. Facebook is spending hundreds of millions to create the Day of Wonders. I would highly advise you have nothing to do with anything from Facebook Reality Labs, augmented reality, teleportation or any of that junk.
Inside Facebook Reality Labs: The Next Era of Human-Computer Interaction
FROM TECH AT FACEBOOK: Imagine a world where a lightweight, stylish pair of glasses could replace your need for a computer or smartphone. You’d have the ability to feel physically present with friends and family — no matter where in the world they happened to be — and contextually-aware AI to help you navigate the world around you, as well as rich 3D virtual information within arm’s reach. Best of all, they’d let you look up and stay present in the world around you rather than pulling your attention away to the periphery in the palm of your hand. This is a device that wouldn’t force you to choose between the real world and the digital world.
The AR interaction challenge
Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Chief Scientist Michael Abrash has called AR interaction “one of the hardest and most interesting multi-disciplinary problems around,” because it’s a complete paradigm shift in how humans interact with computers. The last great shift began in the 1960s when Doug Engelbart’s team invented the mouse and helped pave the way for the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that dominate our world today. The invention of the GUI fundamentally changed HCI for the better — and it’s a sea change that’s held for decades.
But all-day wearable AR glasses require a new paradigm because they will be able to function in every situation you encounter in the course of a day. They need to be able to do what you want them to do and tell you what you want to know when you want to know it, in much the same way that your own mind works — seamlessly sharing information and taking action when you want it, and not getting in your way otherwise.
“In order for AR to become truly ubiquitous, you need low-friction, always-available technology that’s so intuitive to use that it becomes an extension of your body,” says Abrash. “That’s a far cry from where HCI is today. So, like Engelbart, we need to invent a completely new type of interface — one that places us at the center of the computing experience.”
This AR interface will need to be proactive rather than reactive. It will be an interface that turns intention into action seamlessly, giving us more agency in our own lives and allowing us to stay present with those around us.
Importantly, it will need to be socially acceptable in every respect — secure, private, unobtrusive, easy to learn, easy to use, comfortable/all-day wearable, effortless, and reliable.
As we build the next computing platform centered around people, we’re committed to driving this innovation forward in a responsible, privacy-centric way. That’s why we’ve crafted a set of principles for responsible innovation that guide all our work in the lab and help ensure we build products that are designed with privacy, safety, and security at the forefront. In short, the AR interface will require a complete rethinking of how humans and computers interact, and it will transform our relationship with the digital world every bit as much as the GUI has.
The problem space, explored
Say you decide to walk to your local cafe to get some work done. You’re wearing a pair of AR glasses and a soft wristband. As you head out the door, your Assistant asks if you’d like to listen to the latest episode of your favorite podcast. A small movement of your finger lets you click “play.”
As you enter the cafe, your Assistant asks, “Do you want me to put in an order for a 12-ounce Americano?” Not in the mood for your usual, you again flick your finger to click “no.”
You head to a table, but instead of pulling out a laptop, you pull out a pair of soft, lightweight haptic gloves. When you put them on, a virtual screen and keyboard show up in front of you and you begin to edit a document. Typing is just as intuitive as typing on a physical keyboard and you’re on a roll, but the noise from the cafe makes it hard to concentrate.
Recognizing what you’re doing and detecting that the environment is noisy, the Assistant uses special in-ear monitors (IEMs) and active noise cancellation to soften the background noise. Now it’s easy to focus. A server passing by your table asks if you want a refill. The glasses know to let their voice through, even though the ambient noise is still muted, and proactively enhance their voice using beamforming. The two of you have a normal conversation while they refill your coffee despite the noisy environment — and all of this happens automatically.
A friend calls, and your Assistant automatically sends it to voicemail so as not to interrupt your current conversation. And when it’s time to leave to pick up the kids based on your calendared event, you get a gentle visual reminder so you won’t be late due to the current traffic conditions.
Building the AR interface
FRL Research has brought together a highly interdisciplinary team made up of research scientists, engineers, neuroscientists, and more, led by Research Science Director Sean Keller, all striving to solve the AR interaction problem and arrive at computing’s next great paradigm shift.
“We classically think of input and output from the computer’s perspective, but AR interaction is a special case where we’re building a new type of wearable computer that’s sensing, learning, and acting in concert with users as they go about their day,” says Keller, who joined FRL Research to build a five-person team which has since grown to a team of hundreds of world-class experts in the span of just six years. “We want to empower people, enabling each and every one of us to do more and to be more — so our AR interaction models are human-centric.”
At Facebook Connect in 2020, Abrash explained that an always-available, ultra-low-friction AR interface will be built on two technological pillars: The first is ultra-low-friction input, so when you need to act, the path from thought to action is as short and intuitive as possible.
You might gesture with your hand, make voice commands, or select items from a menu by looking at them — actions enabled by hand-tracking cameras, a microphone array, and eye-tracking technology. But ultimately, you’ll need a more natural, unobtrusive way of controlling your AR glasses. We’ve explored a range of neural input options, including electromyography (EMG). While several directions have potential, wrist-based EMG is the most promising. This approach uses electrical signals that travel from the spinal cord to the hand, in order to control the functions of a device based on signal decoding at the wrist. The signals through the wrist are so clear that EMG can detect finger motion of just a millimeter. That means input can be effortless — as effortless as clicking a virtual, always-available button — and ultimately it may even be possible to sense just the intention to move a finger.
The second pillar is the use of AI, context, and personalization to scope the effects of your input actions to your needs at any given moment. This is about building an interface that can adapt to you, and it will require building powerful AI models that can make deep inferences about what information you might need or things you might want to do in various contexts, based on an understanding of you and your surroundings, and that can present you with the right set of choices. Ideally, you’ll only have to click once to do what you want to do or, even better, the right thing may one day happen without you having to do anything at all. Our goal is to keep you in control of the experience, even when things happen automatically.
While the fusion of contextually-aware AI with ultra-low-friction input has tremendous potential, important challenges remain — like how to pack the technology into a comfortable, all-day wearable form factor and how to provide the rich haptic feedback needed to manipulate virtual objects. Haptics also let the system communicate back to the user (think about the vibration of a mobile phone). To address these challenges, we need soft, all-day wearable systems. In addition to their deep work across ultra-low-friction input and contextualized AI, Keller’s team is leveraging soft, wearable electronics — devices worn close to or on the skin’s surface where they detect and transmit data — to develop a wide range of technologies that can be comfortably worn all day on the hand and wrist, and that will give us a much richer bi-directional path for communication. These include EMG sensors and wristbands.
AR glasses interaction will ultimately benefit from a novel integration of multiple new and/or improved technologies, including neural input, hand tracking and gesture recognition, voice recognition, computer vision, and several new input technologies like IMU finger-click and self-touch detection. It will require a broad range of contextual AI capabilities, from scene understanding to visual search, all with the goal of making it easier and faster to act on the instructions that you’d already be sending to your device.
And to truly center human needs in these new interactions, they will need to be built responsibly from the ground up, with a focus on the user’s needs for privacy and security. These devices will change the way we interact with the world and each other, and we will need to give users total control over those interactions.
Building the AR interface is a difficult, long-term undertaking, and there are years of research yet to do. But by planting the seeds now, we believe we can get to AR’s Engelbart moment and then get that interface into people’s hands over the next 10 years, even as it continues to evolve for decades to come. READ MORE
Apocalypse II: Revelation (1999) – Future foretold
Apocalypse II: Revelation (1999) Three months have passed since the events of the previous film. The leader of the world Franco Macalousso (Nick Mancuso) has convinced many of those left behind that he is the true Messiah, or is he?
Now The End Begins is your front line defense against the rising tide of darkness in the last Days before the Rapture of the Church
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