Facebook's Surround camera captures 360-degree video in 8K

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Facebook is getting into the 360-degree camera business.

At its annual F8 developer conference, the company unveiled the Surround 360, its own custom-built camera for shooting 360-degree video. The Surround 360 has 17 “globally synced” camera lenses (14 wide-angle lenses around the horizontal ring and three fisheye lenses on the top and bottom) that capture 360-degree video in up to 8K resolution.

“The 8K output utilizes our dynamic streaming code, doubling the industry standard,” explains a narrator in a demo video (below).

The footage can, of course, be viewed in VR headsets like the Gear VR and Oculus Rift. Read more…

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You can now build bots for Facebook Messenger

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At its F8 developer conference, Facebook unveiled a new Messenger platform that allows developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger.

Bots are hot; they could even be the future.

At its a heart, a bot is nothing more an an app that runs automated tasks based on input. So “run backup” could have a bot that backs up your data to Dropbox or whatever.

The modern era of chat bots work with chat apps – including Messenger – and use real language to determine what task to complete.

In the demo early in his keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed how bots inside Messenger could deliver news to users using CNN. Read more…

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Facebook plans to build augmented reality glasses

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Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is shipping today, but in the future, the company hopes the technology and form factor will shrink to fit into a pair of normal-looking glasses.

On stage at the company’s annual F8 developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off a concept for a pair of smart glasses that he thinks we’ll all be wearing.

Zuckerberg said he wants the smart glasses to be capable of both virtual reality and augmented reality. The vision is not too different from Google Glass. Read more…

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Mark Zuckerberg subtweets Donald Trump in moving Facebook speech

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Donald Trump: Stop dividing people.

Kicking off the company’s annual F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg outlined Facebook’s mission more articulately than he ever has, saying the social network stands for “connecting every person. Giving every person a voice.” He paired the vision with a broader call for inclusion and openness, indirectly subtweeting the likes of Trump for “building walls, distancing people they view as others.”

“It takes courage to choose hope over fear,” Zuckerberg said. “You have to be optimistic to think that you can change the world.” Read more…

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Powerful waterborne hover platform looks amazing, if it's real

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We all like a good bit of next generation technical wizardry, but when something looks and sounds too good to be true, it probably is

That was our first thought about upon viewing the Flyboard Air, a hovering waterborne device, but without the water jet pack and the splashy streams they produce

In a video posted on Saturday, a France-based company called Zapata Racing posted a video of the Flyboard Air. With a dramatic flourish, the device tester closes his helmet and launches into the sky, flying over water at high altitudes with none of the water jet streams apparent in the company’s other hydro-propulsion products. Instead, we see a nearly invisible distortion of the air just beneath the device, indicating a jet stream of some sort Read more…

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There's a star nearly 5 light-years from Earth. Stephen Hawking is sending a spacecraft to it

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Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg and a group of tech and science giants want to send a tiny probe the size of a postage stamp traveling at 100 million mph to the nearest star.

This $100 million “Breakthrough Starshot” project is a “proof of concept” program designed to assess the feasibility of sending a tiny spacecraft out to Alpha Centauri —  light-years — surfing on light beams.

Sails would be attached to the nanocraft that would catch the light from a ground-based light beam that could propel it through the solar system and beyond. Read more…

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