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AR/VR Audio Lead Describes Facebook’s Approach to Productizing Research

If you’re curious about Facebook’s approach to turning research into products and shipping new technology to billions of users, AR/VR audio lead, Varun Nair, gave a presentation today that may interest you.

Nair delivered the first keynote address today to kick off the Audio Engineering Society’s 2020 International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality–which itself is taking place in virtual reality via the AltSpaceVR platform Monday through Wednesday of this week. “There is never a piece of technology that has zero barriers to entry,” Nair said of Facebook’s recent lessons learned. “Discovering the barriers to productizing these technologies is really the hard problem, once we get past that research stage.” The presentation, titled, “New Audio Realities at Scale,” was both a retrospective and a look ahead at the roadblocks ahead of his team in audio for AR and VR.

Nair co-founded Two Big Ears, a company that specialized in audio toolkits for games and XR development. Facebook acquired the company in 2016 as part of its continued push into virtual and augmented reality tech. Nair now leads Facebook’s efforts to develop new algorithms, tools, and software for immersive audio experiences.

The 2020 AES International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality will feature two keynote presentations, one by Varun Nair, and the other by Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories and one of Billboard Magazine’s 100 most influential female executives in the music industry. The event will also feature a panel discussion with VALVE’s audio team, fresh after the company’s release of its triple-A virtual reality title, Half-Life: Alyx.

The conference is sold out, but presentation live streams are viewable on several AES YouTube channels.

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By Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell is an independent game developer and freelance journalist. He is the founder of CodeWritePlay where he produces and hosts the GameDev Breakdown and GameDev Breakdown Radio podcasts. Follow him @Mechatodzilla.

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