Meta wants its VR technology to provide realistic hands

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The Facebook parent company feels that people will respond well to having accurate virtual reality hands.

Since people communicate and identify with their own unique hands, Meta is currently researching strategies to make hands as realistic and accurate as possible using their VR technology.

Researchers have found that people relate very closely to their specific hands and how they look and move.

A team of researchers from the Codec Avatars Lab at Meta joined those at Nanyang Technological University in presenting a new research paper unveiling URHand. The name is in reference to “Universal Relightable Hands” and “Your Hand”.

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The URHand is a model hand that can be adapted to represent the unique hands of an individual user, making it possible to achieve realistic illumination. The researchers working on URHand refer to it as the “first universal relightable hand model that generalizes across viewpoints, poses, illuminations, and identities.”

Through the use of a number of smartphone pictures of a user’s hands, the hand model can be adapted to reflect the unique hands of the user, according to the researchers. In this way, it could one day become possible for an individual to use their own hands photo-realistically using virtual reality technology.

Meta has yet to say whether this VR technology will be integrated into its VR products.

Meta has been working on achieving a photorealistic telepresence in VR for several years through its Codec Avatars research. During a recent podcast, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, and Lex Fridman a Russian-American computer scientist and podcaster demonstrated the tech’s current state.

For Meta, the goal of developing this tech is to one day incorporate codec avatars into standalone headsets. However, there is a great deal that must first be accomplished ahead of such a development.

After all, being able to use VR technology to create a realistic representation of a person isn’t just a matter of recreating a face. It also needs to involve an image of the rest of the person’s body, clothing, and particularly personalized hands, as people closely identify with their hands. The current representation of hands in VR is extremely artificial.

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