Microsoft loses 3 veteran engineers to Facebook’s virtual reality team

Facebook has hired 3 Microsoft veterans (Michael Cohen, Rick Szeliski, and Matt Uyttendaele) to create their new Seattle-based “Computational Photography” team, a group whose mission is to “delight Facebook users with new and enhanced visual media (photo and video) experiences.” It seems that this group is going to have a lot to do with Facebook’s growing dedication to virtual reality, which is well on its way to being released next year.

Microsoft already had a relationship with Facebook when it comes to Oculus, so it only makes sense that the company reached out to Microsoft team members to buff up their Virtual Reality team. On the Computational Photography team’s page, you can take a brief peek at their mission statement, and a brief overview about what they’re meant to be doing with Microsoft exactly.

On top of listing basic photo enhancement in their goals as a team, the truly interesting aspect of Facebook’s new Computational Photography group comes fr0m the last few goals that it lists. Namely, the team is offering to Facebook its skills in mixed media storytelling, VR content creation and sharing, and AR content creation and sharing. The latter of those goals strongly hints towards ties with Microsoft, the only company that we know of who is focusing on augmented reality hardware, save for OEM’s who aim to use HoloLens technology for their own headsets.

It’s a shame that Microsoft had to lose good people, but with Facebook looking heavily into the future of VR, tech enthusiasts should be excited about what the new talent is going to be bringing to the table. You can bet that Facebook’s Computational Photography team is going to be providing us with some interesting ways to utilize virtual reality when the Oculus Rift comes out for consumers next year.

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What do you think Facebook has up its sleeve for VR and AR?