Facebook Rebrand Meta Metaverse Social Media
During the Facebook Connect 2021 event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will be rebranding as Meta, with the main goal being to bring together their apps and technologies under a new name. The ultimate goal is to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities as well as grow their businesses. Users will be able to share immersive experiences with other people, even when you’re not together physically. Read more for two videos explaining everything and showing how it will work.

Facebook Virtual Reality Headset Prototype Oculus VR
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased a prototype virtual / augmented reality headset that his company is currently working on, calling it a “retina resolution” device. Some are speculating that it could be the next Oculus VR headset, since the retina resolution means that the device could potentially have a high enough pixel density that exceeds that of the human eye. Read more for another picture of a different prototype headset.

Ray-Ban Stories Facebook Smartglasses
Facebook and EssilorLuxottica have teamed up to unveil Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses, which start at $299 USD and will be available for purchase in 20 different style combinations online as well as in select retail stores in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK. Its two integrated 5-megapixel cameras allow you to capture moments in a unique first-person perspective, whether it be taking photos or up to 30-second videos. Read more for two videos, including an early hands-on review.

Facebook Virtual Reality Headset Eye Projection
Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Facebook introduces reverse pass-through VR. This technology basically projects a three-dimensional view of the wearer’s eyes to multiple outside viewers in a perspective-correct manner, with a prototype headset containing a world-facing light field display. Why is this even a thing? Facebook claims that this existing video (forward) pass-through technology allows more seamless interactions between people with and without headsets in social or professional contexts. Read more for another picture and additional information.

UCSF Facebook Brain-Computer Interface Paralysis Text Sentences
Researchers at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Facebook developed a “speech neuroprosthesis”, or brain-computer interface, that allowed a man with severe paralysis to communicate in sentences. How so? This interface translated the signals from his brain to the vocal tract directly into words that appear as text on a screen. This also marked the first time in over 16 years that he’d been able to communicate without having to use a head-mounted device. Read more for a video and additional information.

Mark Zuckerberg Electric Surfboard July 4 Instagram Independence Day
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for posting some unusual stunts, and his latest one has him riding an electric surfboard to celebrate Independence Day, all the while holding an American flag. A fitting theme song, John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, played in the background. For those who want their own electric surfboard, it’s made by Lift Foils and will set you back around $12,000 USD. Read more for the video and additional information.

Facebook AI Reverse Engineer Deepfake
Some of the latest deepfakes are hard to distinguish from reality, but Facebook, in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), have developed a method of detecting and attributing deepfakes that relies on reverse engineering from a single AI-generated image to the generative model used to produce it. That’s right, AI can now facilitate deepfake detection and tracing in real-world settings. Read more for a short video and additional information.

Facebook AI TextStyleBrush Handwriting Style Single Word
Facebook’s TextStyleBrush, the company’s latest AI research project, needs just a photo of a single word to emulate your handwriting style. This means that you’ll easily be able to edit and replace text in images, making it the first self-supervised AI model that replaces text in images of both handwriting and scenes using a single example word. It opens the door to advancements in personalized messaging and captions, such as photo-realistic translation of languages in augmented reality (AR). Read more for a video and additional information.

Facebook Neural Wristband AR
Photo credit: The Verge
Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Research is one part of the company you don’t nearly hear about, but today, they showcased their new wrist-controlled AR interface. Why the wrist? Well, it’s the traditional place to to wear a watch, meaning it could seamlessly fit into everyday life and social contexts, thus enabling intuitive, powerful, as well as satisfying interaction. Electromyography (EMG) uses sensors to translate electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand into digital commands that you can use to control the functions of a device. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Zynga Shutting Down FarmVille Facebook
Zynga released FarmVille, an agriculture-simulation social network game, in 2009. This game had players overseeing farmland management, like plowing land, planting, growing crops, harvesting them and raising livestock. After an 11-year-plus run, this game is coming to an end, mainly due to Adobe stopping distribution as well as updates to Flash Player for all web browsers. This meant that Facebook is discontinuing support for all Flash games on the platform completely after December 31st, 2020. Read more for a video showing how the game has evolved over the past decade.