Facebook invented a new unit of time called Flicks that was specifically designed for tracking virtual reality applications. The invention is officially authored by the company’s VR unit Oculus and recently concluded its journey toward becoming an open source project detailed on GitHub. Flicks is defined in the programming language C++ and is said to be the world’s smallest unit of time longer than a nanosecond, i.e. one thousand-millionth of a second. The idea behind Flicks was to create a measurement that accurately subdivides sampling frequencies and media playback frame rates, Oculus explained. Christopher Horvath, the man behind the concept, left the Oculus Story Studio last May after spending a year and a half working as a product architect of Facebook’s subsidiary. He recently acknowledged the approval of Flicks as an open source project, adding that it took a full year for the idea to be approved due to some unspecified missteps he himself made. Mr. Horvath is currently said to be employed by Facebook’s social VR division.
His departure from the Story Studio was prompted by Oculus’s decision to shut down that particular branch of its operations and opting to refocus its resources on supporting third-party development initiatives so as to allow more interested creators to take full advantage of its VR platform. As a direct result of the studio’s closure, Oculus invested $50 million into independent VR projects last year. Today, the Facebook-owned firm is still experimenting with a wide variety of ideas as VR solutions are yet to enter the mainstream and remain to be viewed as niche offerings. The company recently permanently discontinued its Rift VR headset bundle with Touch controllers to $399.99, prompting a similar move from its main rival HTC which slashed the price of its head-mounted display Vive.
Oculus lost its founder Palmer Luckey last March after the now 25-year-old left the company without an official explanation, following reports that the departure was prompted by some controversy related to his political views. The firm is expected to commercialize its first standalone VR headset in the form of the Oculus Go later this year, though the gadget didn’t make an appearance at CES 2018 earlier this month, surprising many industry watchers by its absence.