A guest of the Joe Rogan podcast (yes, the Joe Rogan accused of spreading antivax ideas), Mark Zuckerberg confirmed on August 25, 2022 that his company will launch its next virtual reality headset in October, probably at the same time as the Horizon Worlds update supposed to make the visuals more realistic. The product, known as “Project Cambria” (but rumored to be called Quest Pro), isn’t just the successor to 2020’s Oculus Quest 2 headset. In fact, it could to be a real technological breakthrough.
The beginning of mixed reality
Technically, the Meta Quest Pro will be the first of its kind. Its design is still unknown but the machine will carry lots of new sensors to film the world in color. This is called mixed reality. You’ll have a virtual reality headset in front of your eyes, but inside you’ll feel like you’re seeing the normal world.
Thanks to this technology, helmets could become standardized. We can keep them longer and do new things like, for example, adding virtual things to our real environment. A giant television on the wall, a ping-pong table in his room, a pet… Mixed reality opens up many inaccessible doors of virtual reality. It is no longer a question of metaverses and virtual worlds but of new forms of entertainment and productivity, rooted in reality.
A few months ago, Numerama had the opportunity to try the headset from Lynx, a French startup itself at the origin of a mixed reality headset. His proposal was very attractive, thanks to a product that we imagine wearing, unlike a virtual reality helmet. Only downside, it is expensive. The Meta Quest Pro could be around 1,000 euros, while the Quest 2 is 450 euros.
Finally, how can we talk about mixed reality without talking about Apple. It’s no secret that the brand will be Meta’s main rival in this area. Its mixed reality headset is expected for early 2023 and should be positioned at the ultra high end. We can’t wait to discover Facebook’s vision and oppose it to Apple’s. How do the two companies imagine these new products?
Eye tracking, a first
The Quest Pro isn’t just exciting for its unisex look. This helmet will also incorporate an important new feature: eye tracking using sensors inside the helmet. What’s the point ? To improve immersion, so that virtual reality is less blurry. If your eyes move right, then the focus will move too. Another possible use: in applications with other people, we can look at each other, just like in the real world. Thanks to other sensors, the Quest Pro will also be able to know when you move your mouth, to replicate it in the virtual world.
Admittedly, the Quest Pro is unlikely to be a huge commercial success. But this product will define what virtual/mixed reality should be according to Facebook, which is already a major step for the development of this new technology. By the end of 2022, we don’t see any such interesting product.