Facebook Reality Labs in Pittsburgh USA needed specially constructed concrete floor rooms for a new virtual reality (VR) system.
The rooms where Facebook technicians create virtual avatars are black with large spheres that contain hundreds of tiny cameras used to record movements and voices of the Pittsburgh volunteers, which are made into realistic VR avatars.
The rooms have a unique construction, so the original concrete flooring was removed with jackhammers and a new three-foot-thick concrete floor laid in its place. On top of this are a layer of large heavy springs and a top layer of six-inch thick concrete. The walls are triple thick so that no outside sounds penetrate the rooms.
The general manager of Facebook Reality Labs, Chuck Hoover, explained why this was done:
“We need to keep external sound and vibration down to a minimum. We really need everything in here to be really hyper-accurate. We need every pixel to be perfectly locked in space.”
The social media giant is developing VR communication systems that enable organisations to hold meetings without the need to travel. Virtual reality technology can also be used to teach people in remote locations, or doctors can use it for consultations without patients needing to travel.
Facebook technicians are planning to make a realistic avatar of the company founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as it seeks to make VR as close to real-life as possible. The avatars created in the black rooms with this bespoke concrete flooring are part of making this goal a reality.