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Image credit: Edgar Alvarez / Engadget

Facebook users will be able to make normal photos look 3D

Another feature will create VR environments out of old photos.
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Edgar Alvarez / Engadget

Facebook has been working to implement 3D objects into user interactions, but at the company's F8 conference today, announcers introduced a few new features to add dimensionality and VR to photos. This summer, users will be able to upload pictures as a 'new media type' allowing them to capture 3D moments in time, according to the social network. But it's also adding a new feature that takes photos of old locations -- your childhood home, perhaps -- and uses machine learning to recreate them in VR, albeit in a funky pointillism-like style.

The point cloud reconstruction uses AI and machine learning to fill in the gaps between photos to recreate environments, which users will be able to navigate in VR. Facebook already gives folks opportunities to dive into the past, and this will show off the analytical AI muscle it can bring to bear -- in this case to augment nostalgia, but it could be used to create other virtual reality environments in the future.

To make a 3D photo, anyone can take a portrait mode picture taken on a dual-lens smartphone (beginning with the iPhone) and upload it to Facebook, according to a spokesperson for the social network. The resulting photo has a faux-3D effect such that scrolling past makes them appear three-dimensional. The feature will come sometime this summer.

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