Facebook is building a virtual memory palace out of your photos

3D photos are coming to Facebook, and after that...maybe a whole virtual "you" museum.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Photos, floating in a space made of your memories.


Facebook's F8 Conference started today and has been dreaming big about the future of augmented reality and virtual reality, but one of the most fascinating plans has to do with memories. Or, Facebook's interpretation of them.

A several-stage plan to create 3D spaces and experiences from personal photos is underway, starting this summer with the ability to upload 3D photos, Facebook announced. The photos look like moving images, creating 3D info out of 2D photos and videos. Rachel Franklin, Facebook's head of Social VR, presented the plans on stage at F8.

The next step is the strange one: Eventually, the larger goal is to use AI to turn these photos (and videos) into 3D data that will form a virtual space where memories can be revisited. The demo made it seem like, literally, the digital version of a memory palace. Photos hang in space, framed in a pointillistic world made of dots mapping out a 3D space of... your home, perhaps? Franklin said Facebook could generate a point cloud from flat 2D videos that would become a virtual 3D space that's VR-friendly.

On top of this fuzzy, dreamy point cloud, more photos are suspended. Would these photos mark places where memories happened? Would it be a series of rooms, and photos? It's hard to tell, but Franklin says that these spaces will be areas where friends and family could enter together. It suggests that Facebook's working hard to figure out a way to get the personal world of Facebook content into the otherwise relatively memory-free world of Oculus VR.

I already get my virtual memories served to me on a daily basis through Facebook's archived posts. Maybe, in the future, that will be a whole memory palace... if you let Facebook do it.