At Facebook Connect this year, the platform announced something called the Presence Platform, a new way for developers to create mixed reality experiences for the Oculus Quest headset. It includes a suite of ai tools for developers to make mixed-reality experiences more immersive, helping to integrate the virtual world with physical reality.
The system mainly includes three toolsets, Insight SDK, Interaction SDK, and Voice SDK. Insight is based on the Passthrough API, released this summer, which lets developers overlay virtual objects on Oculus Quest's Passthrough video feed. Facebook has also added a system called Spatial Anchors, which allows developers to "lock" a virtual object to a specific physical area so that the object retains its place in the world. While the Passthrough API was released exclusively as Oculus Quest 2, Facebook tells The Verge that the new platform will support two generations of Quest headsets.
Scene understanding is the final part of the Insight SDK, which allows developers to build virtual reality experiences that match the size of the player's room. For example, Facebook says, "You could install a virtual screen on a user's wall, or have avatars navigate on the floor with realistic occlusion."
The second toolset is the Interaction SDK, which makes it easier for developers to integrate controllers and hand-centric interactions. As part of Facebook's opening up of the Unity library to developers next year, developers will be able to integrate ready-made interactive elements such as "grab," "poke," "select" and "aim. It offers improved hand tracking and lets developers create their gestures.
Finally, the Voice SDK Experimental is a suite of tools provided by Facebook's Wit.Ai natural language platform. This gives users a hands-free virtual experience. It allows developers to create spoken navigation and search features, as well as a spoken FAQ that players can access by asking questions. Voice-driven gameplay even allows users to use their voice while playing the game, such as talking to virtual characters or casting voice-activated spells.
There's been a lot of talk about the metaverse lately, given that Facebook wants to change its name so it can become a "metaverse company."According to Facebook, the presence of platforms "will be key to feeling connected in the meta-universe" — by allowing developers to blend virtual content with the real world.