Meta’s VR headset will use cameras to blend virtual with reality: report

Meta’s investment in virtual and augmented realities (VR and AR) is growing, and a new report says the company plans to release four headsets over the next two years.

According to Information, Meta will launch its high-end virtual reality headset later this year. Dubbed Project Cambria, the headset is now described as something akin to a “facebook laptop” and will sport similar specs to a Google Chromebook, but will be powered by an in-house operating system based on Android.

Engadget reports that even if Meta positions Cambria as a device that can be used for the future of work, or whatever vision future CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks it is to come, it might not be able to run typical PC desktop applications. As a result, its usefulness for actual work would be seriously crippled.

Cambria’s hardware looks promising, though. The two screens – one for each eye – are supposed to have high enough resolution to read small lines of text clearly, like what you’d see in a software engineer’s book reviewing lines of code. This is perhaps more where Meta is aiming for its idea of ​​“the future of work”.

Cambria’s other trick is similar to what’s been developed by others in the space like Canon: the integration of at least one front-facing camera that mixes virtual elements with a live feed of reality. Meta’s Cambria feature would be called “color passthrough” and is designed to support augmented and mixed reality experiences.

When Cambria was first announced last year, Meta confirmed that it would come with eye-tracking and facial recognition features, indicating more camera systems than just a single front-facing live camera. . Much of Meta’s advertising around the Metaverse features cartoonish avatars of users, and Cambria would be able to read wearers’ actual facial expressions and immediately translate them to these digital avatars.

Cambria is rumored to hit the market in September 2022 and will cost over $800 and be significantly heavier than the Oculus Quest 2 thanks to a larger battery and additional hardware Meta has equipped it with. Still, it’s far more affordable than Canon’s MREAL X1 headset which has many of the same features but is designed for business.

Zuckerberg has touted the metaverse as his company’s next major foray, but investors don’t seem convinced yet. As loudly as Zuckerberg says this virtual world he’s creating is going to be a success, Meta own investments slowed down in the region indicate that in private, he may reconsider.

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