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Facebook Starting New Seattle-Based VR/AR Research Team

Last week VRFocus reported that social networking specialist and Oculus VR owner Facebook had hired Microsoft veterans Michael Cohen, Rick Szeliski and Matt Uyttendaele to work on virtual reality (VR) tools. The group’s work is expected to pave the way for new features to Facebook itself, allowing users to upload their own 360 degree video content after the company launched support for the format earlier in the year. Today, new information has surfaced about this new team, including its location and what it will be working on.

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Facebook has launched a web page for a new Seattle, Washington-based Computational Photography applied research group. It reveals that the team is working on ‘new and enhanced visual media experiences’. This stretches beyond VR itself and also into augmented reality (AR), another area that Facebook is said to be very interested in.

“The Computational Photography applied research group’s mission is to delight Facebook users with new and enhanced visual media (photo and video) experiences,” a description on the site reads. “Our interests and expertise range from traditional image and video enhancement techniques, such as stabilization, de-blurring, de-noising, and tone adjustment, to creating composite media such as panoramic (360°) photos and videos, video loops, and animated clips. Areas of exploration include photo and video capture and enhancement, mixed media story telling, VR and AR video content creation and sharing.”

It also notes that the group ‘collaborates closely’ with ‘research and product groups’ that are also Facebook-owned. It’s likely that it’s working with Oculus VR itself, then, as it will be creating tools for use with the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). The team is also currently hiring Interns and Research Scientists.

VRFocus will continue to follow Facebook’s work in VR closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.