As a part of yesterday’s Oculus event, Facebook offered up a look at what may permeate our use of social media in the years ahead: virtual reality emoji. Simply and aptly dubbed “VR emoji” by Facebook, the idea is to simply allow users to express their emotions in a virtual space — using an animated avatar in place of one’s actual self.
So how does it work? Not only does language trigger specific reactions — a face won’t stay completely static if you make a shocking statement — but your own body language will trigger the emoji to react, too. For example, if you’re confused in real life, physically reacting accordingly would make your avatar express bewilderment as well.
Ultimately, if the technology ends up working as promised, it would be a major milestone sense it wouldn’t depend on eye or facial tracking — something of added importance considering that neither the Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Google Daydream and Cardboard, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR feature built-in eye-tracking hardware.