Mark Zuckerberg gave us the first tantalising glimpse of Meta’s secretive VR headset yesterday – but still managed to keep it mostly hidden.
The Facebook founder posted a short demo video showcasing some of the capabilities of his company’s high-end virtual reality headset — codenamed Project Cambria.
Facebook’s owner Meta is planning to release the headset later this year.
The demo gave a sneak peek into what mixed reality could look like, with Zuckerberg gesturing toward the cartoon character from this Oppy video and appearing to paint its environment over the real world.
The headset is supposed to offer high-resolution, full-colour passthrough, which means users can interact with virtual objects superimposed onto their actual reality.
Think of it like an advanced version of playing Pokémon Go – where you could hunt for Pokémon in your real-world environment.
Current Quest headsets are only capable of displaying passthrough content in shades of grey, but Project Cambria will have advanced image sensors to make the real world look better inside the headset.
But it looks like Meta is taking no risks with leaks about the actual product, blurring out the headset itself in the video.
‘This demo was created using Presence Platform, which we built to help developers build mixed reality experiences that blend physical and virtual worlds,’ said Mark in the Facebook post.
The demo, called ‘The World Beyond’, will soon be available on App Lab, a programming environment where you can make simple apps for the current Quest headset.
The new device has internally been described as a ‘laptop for the face’ or ‘Chromebook for the face’, according to details obtained by The Information earlier this month.
The device will reportedly use Meta’s VR operating system based on Android – which can support web-based tools and services – as well as some Quest apps.
The ‘Oculus Quest Pro’, as it is referred to by VR enthusiasts, will reportedly cost around $799 (£638). That’s more than double the $374 (£299) price for current Oculus Quest VR headsets.
For the extra price, Cambria will apparently support high-resolution image quality that could allow wearers to perform functions like sending emails or even code while wearing the headset, as demonstrated in the video.
Meta wants to position its headsets for use in the workplace, but that will be difficult unless it can run native desktop apps commonly used by businesses.
Meta had earlier planned to release Project Cambria as early as September, followed by an updated version – currently codenamed Funston – in 2024.
The upcoming versions of the Quest headset, codenamed Stinson and Cardiff, are slotted for release in 2023 and 2024.
That’s around the same time Meta is rumoured to launch its AR glasses, codenamed Project Nazare, which would allow the wearer to view people as 3D avatars and interact with them in real-time.
The 37-year-old billionaire said Meta was working on other advanced technologies which will be added to Project Cambria.
The project was first announced at the Meta Connect conference in October 2021, where Zuckerberg had described it as ‘a completely new advanced and high-end product’ which will sit ‘at the higher end of the price spectrum’.
Today it has become the focus of Zuckerberg’s future of the company, especially since the rebrand to Meta.
According to Meta’s earning report from last week, Meta has spent around $3.7 billion (£2.9 billion) on Reality Labs, its VR and AR division.
In comparison, the metaverse vertical has only made $700 million (£559 million) in revenue.