Here’s Facebook’s next, but vague, virtual reality headset

Through its boss Mark Zuckerberg, Meta reveals the first information on the Cambria project, its upcoming high-end VR headset. It will put mixed reality in the spotlight thanks to multiple cameras.

It’s no secret that Mark Zuckerberg strongly believes in virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality. The ardent defender of metaverse », the creator of Facebook named his company Meta in October 2021 to accelerate this transition. Mark Zuckerberg is convinced that the future of the Internet will take place, at least in part, in virtual worlds and has the ultimate goal of launching glasses that perfectly blend the virtual and the real.

By the end of 2022, Meta should be marketing a new virtual reality headset that it’s currently calling Project Cambria. This high-end version of the Research 2whose price should be around 1000 euros, should be an important first step in the transition from virtual reality to augmented reality. A video posted by Mark Zuckerberg May 12 confirms: Cambria headset will offer many “mixed reality” experiences.

Mixed reality, what is it?

In this short video, Mark Zuckerberg introduces Oculus’ upcoming high-end headset without showing it off. Ironically, the face of Meta’s boss has been blurred to hide the helmet pattern. Our only certainty at the moment is that the prototype used by Mark Zuckerberg is black, while the Quest 2 is white. This is quality information!

On the other hand, there are interesting elements in this video. What Mark Zuckerberg is showing off is a new app called “The World Beyond,” which, quite magically, adds virtual elements to the real world. With it, you can display a table tennis table in the middle of your living room, play with fake animals, chat with friends on the other side of the world or take sports lessons without leaving your apartment.

How does it work? The technology used by “The World Beyond” is not augmented reality but mixed reality. Specifically, some cameras in the helmet will replicate a glimpse of the real world in virtual reality. You will see your real sofa, but it will not be your real sofa as the screens will be in front of your eyes. However, we can imagine that the price of this helmet is explained by the quality of the real-world replica.

Two examples of using mixed reality. Cameras copy the real world here. // Source: Meta

The Oculus Quest 2 is also capable of using mixed reality, but only in black and white. The result is already stunning, as all the elements of the real world appear in the right place. Cambria will be able to replicate reality in color. That’s why it will allow Facebook to take a first step outside of virtual reality.

To give developers (and users) a taste of The World Beyond, Meta says the app will soon be available on App Lab, Quest 2’s experimental store.

For further

Metaverse // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

Repetition of reality, the solution to convince?

Shortly after posting this video, Mark Zuckerberg participated in a 27-minute live chat with Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games (I expect you to die, Between us…). In this interview, he particularly emphasized that he hoped that every day more and more people would be working with a helmet on their head in a few years. Mark Zuckerberg’s approach is clearly not 100% virtual reality, but the possibility of mixing the two.

The Cambria helmet should be revealed in a longer length in a few months, before it goes on sale in late 2022. Its main competitor could be Apple’s signature, the Californian brand would also plan, a very high level mixed reality headset. For now, they will be aimed primarily at developers until the technology is more mature.

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