Here at Meta, we’re just scratching the surface on the potential for how humans can interact with technology. Meta has created a platform to help create community and connect people around the world, and now we’re applying that same mission to the next generation of technology: virtual and augmented reality. Led by Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, Reality Labs Research (RL Research) brings together a distinguished R&D team to build the future of connection within virtual and augmented reality. Located primarily in Redmond, Washington (with additional offices in Sausalito, Pittsburgh, and Menlo Park), the team is developing all the technologies needed to enable breakthrough AR glasses and VR headsets, including optics and displays, computer vision, audio, graphics, brain-computer interface, haptic interaction, eye/hand/face/body tracking, perception science and true telepresence.
We sat down with Michael and a couple of his team members to learn more about what it’s like to work at RL Research, and how they’re making an impact.
Michael A., Chief Scientist
“Reality Labs Research brings together a world-class team of researchers, developers, and engineers to create the future of how we work, play and connect with each other. We’re working toward developing the AR and VR technology necessary to make the mixed reality experience as essential as our smartphones and personal computers are today. From AR glasses and VR headsets to brain-computer interface and haptic interaction, we’re creating the next wave of technology just as previous generations have done for us.”—Michael A., Chief Scientist
Ruth T., Technical Program Manager
“I joined Reality Labs Research as its first Technical Program Manager in 2015. Over the years, our team has grown to include people from many disciplines and a variety of backgrounds, ranging from gaming and software to academia and the military. Because of how diverse we are, the culture here is super collaborative—we all strive to learn from each other. People here have to be really good at communicating with others outside of their discipline, and we’re all working toward one common goal: inventing technologies that will make AR and VR more accessible for everyone.
At RL Research, we’re working toward a better understanding of the future. Our work is rooted in research and building and testing technology to learn how we can use AR and VR in products that people will want to use in the real world. We look at dozens of factors, including the psychology behind human-computer interaction and how the human perceptual system responds to external factors like haptic and visual stimuli. There aren’t a lot of places where you have the funding and autonomy to tackle these kinds of problems. At RL Research, we have the unique opportunity to build something that will change the way humans interact with technology.” —Ruth T., Technical Program Manager, RL Research
Marina Z., Research Scientist
“When I originally interviewed with the company over three years ago, I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to make the move from California to Washington to join RL Research. It wasn’t until I sat down with the people on that team that I realized what an amazing opportunity I would have to learn from them as I started my career. The team was so small at the time, so I took advantage and was able to choose what I wanted to focus on from a skills perspective. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to take on challenges I normally wouldn’t be able to tackle so early on in my career.
The team is now much larger and any given day can feel like you’re immersed in an academic lab with research and development, or part of a startup culture with fast-paced timelines and a lot of creativity. This leads to us learning how to become comfortable with ambiguity as we’re constantly tackling problems and challenges as they arise. We all come from such different backgrounds that we’re constantly given opportunities to teach and learn from each other as we collaborate. The person next to you may not speak the same technical language as you, but it’s an extraordinary learning opportunity and a chance to work on problems that no one else has solved before.” —Marina Z., Research Scientist, RL Research
Yaser S., Director
“The core promise of AR and VR is to connect billions of people across great distance, as if they were talking to each other in person. Often times, people have no idea what we are doing to make this promise a reality. Once they understand what we're attempting, they realize that we’re working on something that has simply never existed before. Think about how many people travel on a regular basis to see their loved ones. Many of us don't like airports or airplane food, but we suffer through it because it’s worth getting to see the people we care about. AR and VR could completely change this experience. If we’re successful, there is the potential of changing the world.” —Yaser S., Director, RL Research
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Learn more about Reality Labs Research