Introducing the New Facebook Reality Labs

By Andrew Bosworth, Head of Facebook Reality Labs

And Save the Date for Facebook Connect on September 16

  • We’re renaming our AR/VR team — Facebook Reality Labs — to encompass the expansive work we’re doing to build the next computing platform and help people feel together, even when they’re apart.
  • Our annual conference, Facebook Connect (formerly Oculus Connect), will be held virtually on September 16 and will be free for everyone to attend.

Facebook’s work in augmented and virtual reality spans a number of breakthrough technologies and touches industries ranging from entertainment and gaming to education and beyond. Oculus lets people defy distance with cutting-edge VR hardware, while Portal helps friends and families stay connected and share the moments that matter in meaningful ways. Spark AR powers AR experiences for Facebook’s apps and devices. Our research teams invent and iterate on novel technologies that break exciting new ground. And through it all, we’ve drawn inspiration from the legacies of Bell Labs and Xerox Parc as groundbreaking models of centers for innovation.

Today, we’re introducing a new name for Facebook’s AR/VR team — Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) — to encompass the expansive work being done at Facebook as we build the next computing platform to help people feel more present with each other even when we’re apart. We’re also excited to share the date for our annual conference, Facebook Connect (formerly Oculus Connect), which will be held virtually on September 16 and is free for everyone to attend. At Facebook Connect, you’ll hear more on our vision for Facebook Reality Labs and the latest innovations from our team and developer community. You can watch the keynote and sessions on the FRL Facebook page.

Previously, FRL was the name given to our research division, which had historically been known as Oculus Research. Our research teams have helped establish Facebook Reality Labs as a pioneer in the AR/VR space as we work to deliver the next computing platform. We’re grateful to Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and his teams in Redmond, Washington; New York; Pittsburgh; Sausalito and Menlo Park, California; London; Zürich; and Cork, Ireland for championing the FRL name and pushing the limits of what’s possible. They’ll continue inventing the future as FRL Research.

Much like Facebook’s recent corporate rebranding, our emphasis is on clarity — visually identifying us as a part of Facebook while looking toward the future of the next computing platform that puts people at the center.

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, and FRL’s mission is to build tools that help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere. We enable depth of connection through social presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person and sharing the same space, regardless of physical distance. Rather than distracting us and taking us away from the people around us, tomorrow’s AR and VR devices will melt away, letting us connect and be truly present with the people and moments that matter most.

We’re committed to innovating responsibly as we build the next computing platform. And because these technologies are novel, they bring with them unique privacy considerations. FRL is building the entire stack, including hardware and software, so privacy is baked into our design process from the beginning. We’ll continue to evolve our approach to privacy as the technology develops.

Together, AR and VR will change how we work, interact and play, with novel use cases we haven’t even begun to imagine. Many of the technologies needed to deliver on the promise of AR glasses don’t exist yet — and our team is hard at work to make them a reality. That’s why we’ve decided to expand the FRL brand beyond research to be inclusive of all the teams that are building, iterating and shipping today’s hardware and software on the road to the next computing platform. We’re a diverse group of problem solvers driven by a culture of experimentation and innovation — and we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

This is our seventh year hosting our annual AR/VR conference, and over the years, Connect has grown to include so much more than Oculus, with research updates and product news from Spark AR to Portal from Facebook. Moving forward, our annual AR/VR event will be called Facebook Connect to better reflect its broader scope, and we look forward to sharing even more news that represents the work happening across the entire Facebook Reality Labs team. This year, viewers can experience keynotes from Facebook leaders and industry visionaries to hear about the latest innovations in AR/VR and join immersive developer sessions. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more details as we get closer to the event on September 16.

Before today, we lacked a unified brand identity from which to tell the story of how we’re building the future of VR and AR. With the Facebook Reality Labs name, we’re making clear where these technologies are coming from. We hope you’ll come along for the ride. In the meantime, we’ll be working in the lab.

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