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Meta's virtual reality project finally has its feet – literally | Meta

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A year after changing its name, the company formerly known as Facebook has revealed plans to literally step into the metaverse.

Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual reality project gets plenty of extras, including a $1,499 (£1,356) ‘pro’ headset, integration with Microsoft Office, the sitcom The Office and, of course, walking appendages.

Zuckerberg has revealed that as part of the upcoming visual overhaul of Meta’s Horizon virtual world avatars, the feet, though not the toes yet, are joined to the shoulders and knees. Others now just hover a little off the ground, with their head, arms, and torso rendered in a cartoon style, with the torso ending at the waist. As a result, legs are “probably the most requested feature on our roadmap,” said the CEO and co-founder. “But seriously, legs are hard. That’s why other virtual reality systems don’t have legs either.”

The company’s systems currently use a number of inputs, from direct visual tracking using a front-facing camera to more sophisticated attempts to predict movement based solely on head and hand movements, to determine the position of a user’s legs and feet. trying to guess. Model of human anatomy.

Legs are coming soon! Are you excited? 🎉

— Meta Horizon (@MetaHorizon) October 11, 2022


Horizon’s avatar ridicule has sparked irritation from Zuckerberg in the past. It went viral on social media, with people ridiculing the vague and soulless look of the virtual world. In response, he shared a rendering of a more realistic version of his virtual face a few days later. It was taken very quickly,” he said. “Horizon’s graphics can do a lot more.”

Legs may have been the most requested feature, but the Quest Pro headset was the star of Meta’s Connect event. This is a new business device that sells for $1,499 and pushes the potential of virtual reality. The headset introduces two new headline features to Meta’s VR lineup: eye-tracking and “pass-through” mixed reality.

The former uses a small camera mounted inside the headset to track where the user is looking in the virtual world. This allows developers to deliver experiences that respond to the user’s attention, from gaze-responsive virtual characters to interfaces that can be activated at a glance. But it also enables a whole new level of oversight, potentially allowing advertisers to assess exactly who has seen what promotions and for how long.

Pass-through mixed reality offers similar experiences to devices such as Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens AR glasses, seeking to layer virtual experiences on top of the real world. But rather than experimenting with holographic lenses like those two devices, the Quest Pro uses a high-definition front-facing camera to simply record the real world and display it on its internal screen. This turns the challenge of display technology into one of computing speed. This is because the device must be able to process and display the live video quickly enough so that there is zero latency.

Neither feature is cheap, and Zuckerberg implies that the Quest Pro will sell at a loss, despite being $1,100 more than the mainstream Quest 2 headset. It’s not about making money on the wear,” he told tech site The Verge.

But the Pro market is for pro users. “If we can give every engineer in our company one device and he can improve productivity by 3%, I would definitely give him a $1,500 device,” he added. To that end, the company has announced new deals with partners such as NBC, which will bring experiences based on The Office sitcom to the platform, and Microsoft, his version of Office, Teams and even his Xbox Game Pass for the Quest platform. Did.