Facebook’s bizarre ‘reverse passthrough’ VR headset wants to show off your eyes

Facebook revealed a new experimental reverse passthrough VR concept that displays the eyes of users wearing a VR headset to the outside world, and it aims to reshape the social connection between real and virtual worlds.

Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) will present the new concept for “social co-presence” while in virtual reality at the SIGGRAPH 2021 event taking place this August. The research team’s blog post gives us a sneak peek at development so far, and it’s giving off sci-fi vibes akin to The 6th Day. 

(Image credit: Facebook Research )

The reverse passthrough VR prototype works in contrast with what the Oculus Quest can do with Passthrough+, which uses externally facing cameras to help users wearing a VR headset see their surroundings in the real world. Instead of external surroundings, the prototype shows off your eyes to the outside world.

Using microlens-array light field displays, a floating 3D image shows off the user’s eyes “showing the correct perspective for multiple external viewers.” This means the images shift seamlessly so no matter where someone from the outside is looking at the user, the light field display will offer a natural-looking image of the user’s eyes. 

Facebook wants social co-presence in VR

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