Oculus Research is getting a new name. As the AR/VR-focused research group grows more instrumental to the future of Facebook at large, the group will now be called Facebook Reality Labs. The announcement was made by Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash in a post on his personal Facebook page.
It’s just a name change, but the announcement marks a further entrenching inside the Facebook org of AR/VR initiatives once confined to Oculus.
Oculus Research doesn’t just work on new types of VR hardware, a lot of the group’s research also touches on foundational AR/VR software and environment-tracking tech. With Facebook’s AR Camera Effects tech now integrated across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, perhaps this name change signifies that the technologies being developed are no longer just falling into Oculus’s purview and Facebook wants to make that more clear.
In addition to the Camera team, it’s clear from announcements at F8 that Facebook is also tapping a lot of new research to strengthen its work on avatars inside its Spaces virtual reality app.
Oculus has been growing closer to Facebook organizationally since a leadership shakeup in late 2016 saw then-CEO Brendan Iribe step down to lead a PC-focused VR division, with Hugo Barra later being hired as VP of VR at Facebook inside Zuckerberg’s inner circle. Ads exec Andrew Bosworth became the VP of AR/VR in August and is now leading the company’s consumer hardware efforts being worked at inside the Building 8 group.
“This new name (Facebook Reality Labs) is reflective of the new role our research and development group plays not only at Oculus, but also across Facebook’s AR/VR organization, which includes Building 8, Camera, and Social VR,” an Oculus spokesperson told TechCrunch.