Facebook has invented a new unit of time called the ‘flick'
Facebook has invented a new unit of time called the “flick”, which is equivalent to one 705,600,000th of a second.
Oculus, the virtual reality division of the social media giant, came up with the new unit to measure the speed of digital audio and video.
In a post on GitHub, an online forum used by developers of open source software, Christopher Horvath – one of the creators of the flick – describes it as “the smallest time unit which is LARGER than a nanosecond”.
For comparison, a nanosecond is one billionth of a second, making a flick roughly 1.41723356 nanoseconds long.
Films run at 24 frames per second (FPS), which makes each frame approximately .04166666667 seconds long. Endlessly repeating decimal numbers make it hard for computer programmers to work at these scales.
Flick allows a single frame to be represented by an even number. For instance, at 24 FPS in films, each frame is 29,400,000 flicks.
In a Facebook post, Horvath revealed it took him more than a year to get the flick through the Open Source process at Facebook.
He said flick “can in integer quantities exactly represent a single frame duration” in audio and video formats.
This, he adds, makes it suitable for “doing timing work against the system high resolution clock, which is in nanoseconds, but doesn’t get slightly out of sync when doing common frame rates”.