Bday Gift: Zuckerberg Gives Avatar To Pet Dog

Bday Gift: Zuckerberg Gives Avatar To Pet Dog
January 11, 2017

Wouldn't he have preferred a bone? Mark Zuckerberg reveals he commissioned a 3D printed VR portait of his pet Beast for its sixth birthday

Most people celebrate their dog's birthday by buying it a new toy, but if you're the CEO of Facebook, you gift your canine pal a 3D sculpture of itself.


Mark Zuckerberg commissioned an artists at Oculus, Facebook's VR firm, to design a figurine of his pet Beast, a Hungarian sheepdog who has almost 2.5 million followers of his own on Facebook, in honor of the dog's sixth birthday.


Standing just a under a foot tall, the 3D replica was completely designed in a virtual world where it was sketched out and painted to look like the shaggy dog.


'A few weeks ago, an artist at Oculus designed and printed a 3D sculpture in VR,' Zuckerberg explained of the unique figurine. 'Beast was pretty confused, but I love that we have the technology and culture where people just make things like this for fun.'


It appears that the 3D printed sculpture is not even a foot tall and was painted in the VR world to highlight Beast's mop-like locks. The artist used the software Oculus Medium, the firm's VR software that lets users create real objects with Touch controllers, to design the digital dog.


It was then sent to Facebook's hardware lab, called the 404 lab, where it was printed out using a 3D printer.


Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014 and Zuckerberg believes this technology will open up a whole new world of sharing experiences and thoughts with others.


In an interview with Bloomberg, the tech tycoon also admitted that there are still massive hurdles to overcome.


'I think you get - I mean, there's something that's just - that's deeper, that I don't even think we scientifically understand about just how you actually experience the world,' he told Bryant Urstadt and Sarah Frier from Bloomberg.

'I think there's outside, and there's different fidelities of capturing that.


'And then there's the human experience of it, which I think is - I mean, we don't even have enough of a scientific understanding to even have - I think I don't, at least, have the vocabulary to even fully describe this.'

He has addressed limitations that, until they are addressed, will hold back the full potential of virtual reality and the awakening of telepathy.


Tracking the wearer's eyes plays a key role in this technology, and experts need to develop a design for the goggles that allows it to follow the user's eye movements in a way that would manipulate the plane of focus, Zuckerberg told Bloomberg.

Above: Using the controllers, the artist was able to capture Beast's shaggy locks and added other life-like features.


The same stands for mouths, as they come in different shapes, sizes and make different expressions. Zuckerberg has stated that these problems, among others, will need to endure a lot of science in order to be perfected.


Virtual reality seems to be the next big thing when looking at the progression of how we share ideas and experiences online. The one that started it all was text --being able to see what you're thinking on the screen in front of you and send it to a friend was revolutionary.


Once the sculpture was completed using the software, it was sent to Facebook's hardware lab to turn it into a tangible object (below picture).


But not too long after. video made its debut which allowed people to understand the entire story without having to read about it and fill in the blanks. But next in line, according to Zuckerberg, is virtual reality and it can build onto video in a way that immerses users in the experience.


'It's like this indefinite continuum of getting closer and closer to being able to capture what a person's natural experience and thought is, and just being able to immediately capture that and design it however you want and share it with whomever you want,' he told Bloomberg.

Above: The 3D printer printed layers of the sculpture until it was a complete replica of the dog. Then a Facebook employ carved at the finish product to reveal the miniature Beast.


Using this technology as a means to share experiences puts the viewer right in the middle of the action --imagine Facebook Live during a riot or at shooting week's Democratic National Convention.


Other than harnessing the inner power of the mind, Oculus will also let Facebook create something that is tangible, as the firm has only been creating intangible code.


However, this is all a bid for the social media giant to own the virtual reality space, as Zuckerberg said that in order to take control of technology, you must own both the hardware and software.

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