Facebook gets serious about audio in VR

George Molina
Product Manager
Read Time
3 min read
Published On
May 31, 2016

Even though we’ve made significant progress in constantly expanding our boundaries between what we thought was possible and what wasn’t, one of the most futuristic aspects of technology that’s filled to the brim with untapped potential would be “VR” or “Virtual Reality”. From retail to video games, Facebook has definitely noticed the potential in the market and has made yet another step towards building a virtual reality empire.

Last Monday, Facebook, acquired Two Big Ears, a small startup specializing in audio technology. Founded in 2013, this Edinburgh based company specializes in immersive and interactive audio applications and tools with a focus on mobile and other emerging technologies. A post from Two Big Ears confirmed the merge:

“At Two Big Ears, we’ve been hard at work creating technology and tools that have defined how immersive audio is crafted and experienced in VR and AR both now and in the future. We’re proud to see the impact our work has had on so many great projects. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey and scale our work from within Facebook. There is so much still to explore. By joining with a company that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to scale our technology even quicker as we continue powering immersive audio experiences.”

Already the proud parent Oculus Rift since 2014, and Gear VR with Samsung,  Facebook once again dedicates valuable resources to enhancing audio effects in the virtual reality sphere. While VR products like Samsung’s Gear Headset and Facebook’s Oculus Rift receive positive reviews and the user count being especially high this year with the Gear reaching over one million, the amount of media and software in this field is far below anticipated.

The startup previously owned two audio products created as solutions for cinematic VR/360 video and gaming. With the purchase of Two Big Ears, Facebook transformed one of these products, cinematic VR/360 video into the “Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation. This software is designed to “make VR audio succeed across all devices and platforms” and furthermore is available to the public with no price tag attached. With the release of this new program, it would not only make content creators happy, but also encourage them to develop and enhance their experiences with the audio specifics already readily available to them.