Oculus has rolled out a huge update for its virtual reality avatars, giving them the ability to simulate human expressions. Well, the most basic human expressions like smiling, that is -- but at least they'll look a bit livelier and friendlier when when you meet up with friends in the virtual world or visit other users' Public Homes. According to Oculus, Expressive Avatars can simulate eye and mouth movements to make VR interactions a bit more natural. The feature was apparently a huge challenge for the company, which describes it as the "culmination of user feedback and years of research and innovations in machine learning, engineering and design."
Since Expressive Avatars weren't designed to track your face with a camera, Oculus had to develop the algorithms that would allow them to mimic how we look at objects or talk to other people. They're the product of a collaboration between dozens of employees from several teams within the company. You'll find the latest update when you visit Home on your Oculus Go or Rift headsets. Over the coming days and weeks, you'll also be able to enjoy the upgraded avatars in more experiences when a spate of third-party apps, including Poker Stars VR and Epic Rollercoaster, start supporting the feature.