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TheStreet Open House

Now We Learn Why Facebook Acquired Oculus

The Parrot BeBop has a 14 megapixel video camera with a 180-degree fish-eye lens. One way of describing it is that it's got the eyesight of an insect. What you see when you operate the drone from your Android or iOS device is what this insect (drone) sees. It is fascinating and thrilling.

While you may operate the drone manually from your iOS or Android, you could also view insect's vision from the Facebook Oculus immersive goggles. Now that truly makes you feel like an insect in the sky.

Parrot did not release a price or exact timing of the BeBop drone. It is believed that it will be available toward the end of this year.

The Parrot BeBop will be sold both with and without a gaming-style "holster-controller" into which you would slide your tablet. That enables finer flight controls, and perhaps most importantly a longer WiFi range. The reason for that is that this so-called "SkyController" has a very large and sophisticated antenna array. Without it, you would most likely be unable to fly anywhere near the 2 kilometer limit.

One kind of wonders what the legitimate civilian purpose is of a product such as this, if it's not spying on people. Perhaps a real estate agent filming a property? Perhaps filming a low-budget movie? If I saw one of these buzzing over my property, I would pull out a shotgun and blow it out of the sky immediately.

That actually brings me to the more interesting use case of the product. Forget civilians. How about the military or the Central Intelligence Agency? Imagine a scaled-up version of this drone, outfitted with a pistol and silencer. It would be a very effective assassination tool.

I can see it right now: "Mr. Bond, there is no longer any need for you to get dressed up in a tuxedo and hang out at the Monaco casino for Dr. Evil to show up. Just put on these Facebook Oculus glasses, lean back in your lounge chair, program the drone to sneak up on Dr. Evil, and then press fire when you're close enough. Bam!"

Military and intelligence purposes aside, the synergies with Facebook are becoming clear. Wouldn't you want to be able to view, inside Facebook, what the drone operator is able to see through the camera?

People seem fascinated recording and sharing what they are seeing. From Instagram to selfies, Facebook is at the vanguard of capitalizing on this. A whole generation has become obsessed with telling people what they are doing and what they are seeing.

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