Behold, the VR selfie stick

Why Facebook's latest virtual reality demo has people buzzing over new possibilities.

During Facebook’s F8 conference yesterday, the company showed off the latest version of its ToyBox virtual reality software. It was impressive enough when Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer put on an Oculus Rift to show its new features as he and a remote user explored 360-degree photos of London, but then he pulled out something we didn’t even know we wanted: a VR selfie stick.

Schroepfer and the person with him snapped a photo together before instantly sending off the image to be shared on Facebook.

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The showcase was just a demo of a prototype, and thus still had some visible rough edges we assume are going to be smoothed out, but what really has people buzzing is the possibilities something like this could offer down the line.

The idea of being able to bring multiple people into the same experience is exciting since, as immersive as it is, most VR executions we’ve seen are pretty lonely. As Mashable points out, this opens up huge possibilities for VR tourism as well, with people no longer having to explore a far off place alone, and can even have a virtual tour guide along with them to point out interesting things in real time. But something similar could be done for the legions of people who record and stream as they play video games (and the fans that watch them), or experiences at concerts and sporting events.

And a VR selfie stick might seem like a bit of silly thing to get excited about, since most of us react with annoyance whenever someone pulls one out in real life. But surely you can imagine how giving people different angles at which to view and share VR photos would be attractive to anyone from video game live-streamers to FOMO-obsessed millennials (especially if the crude 3D avatars in the demo don’t get replaced with more realistic photos of themselves).

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