facebook‘s virtual reality division – otherwise known as those folks at oculus – have announced that they have invented a new unit of time. known as flicks, the measurement is a nifty way of measuring the speed of digital audio and video (and if you want to skip the mathematical part you should stop reading now).

facebook oculus has invented a new unit of time

facebook headquarters front sign
image courtesy of facebook



short for ‘frame tick’, a flick is one seven hundred and five million six hundred thousandth of a second — that’s 1/705,600,000, or 1.417233560090703e-9 in the decimal sense. the new unit of time is supposed to help measure individual frame duration for video frame rates because it offers a way of measuring the length of each frame with a rounded number instead of a decimal. keep with it… we promise it gets easier.



so currently, most movies are shot at 24 frames per second so within each second 24 still frames play in sequence to give the illusion of motion. to split a second into 24 frames means that each frame is .04166666667 seconds long, or 41666666.669 nanoseconds. it might seem artificial but those complex numbers make it hard to work precisely and so a flick offers a clean measurement and representation of a frame. for example, at 24 fps, each frame is 29,400,000 flicks. at 60 fps – more common for action-packed video games – each framerate us 11,760,000 flicks long. in a nutshell, a flick is a cleaner way of measuring time that makes it easier for people to do their jobs.