Meta, formerly called Facebook, launched its long-awaited new virtual reality headset on Tuesday at Meta Connect, its annual developer conference for developers.
The latest VR headset, known as Quest Pro, is a new headset that was announced on Tuesday. Quest Pro is a top-of-the-line device that is designed to offer the same capabilities as the capabilities of a computer. In his speech the previous day, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the new device as “the next step in the evolution of VR” and “an important step in the process of creating our metaverse.”
The Meta Quest Pro announced at Meta’s Connect conference on Tuesday, is scheduled to launch on the 25th of October. 25. I had the chance to test it on a recent trip to the Meta’s Reality Labs Research headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and it’s not trying to replace your standard headset for your home.
After having used it for an hour or so, I was reminded more of Microsoft’s professional HoloLens 2. than any other consumer VR headset I’ve worn. And its cost, though initially seems costly, is in the price range of what business VR and VR headsets fall.
The Meta Quest Pro looks sleeker than the Meta Quest 2–it’s almost like an eyeglass for skiing–for several reasons. First, it has a curved cell battery that is located behind the head, incorporated in the strap for the head, which will also give the user a more comfortable and balanced experience when worn. It’s a good thing since the Pro is a little heavier than the predecessor at 722 grams, compared to the 503 grams.
It also has a face-tracking camera. Quest Pro also features inward-facing cameras that follow a person’s eyes and face. This is not just a way to ensure the headset is correctly fitted; it also facilitates foveated rendering, in which the fine details must be drawn where the eyes of the user are viewing. And since Meta will strive to create 3D avatars as realistic as possible (or at the very least not as creepy), Face-tracking cameras can convert IRL facial expressions into 3D characters.
But the most significant challenge for Meta is its accessibility. Personal computers, the web, and cell phones revolutionized our communication. They only began dramatically changing how we communicated when they were available and cost-effective enough that they could go popular. Meta stated that on Tuesday, it is serious about advancing the quality of its technology in VR/AR even though it still has an extensive road ahead. However, it’s also facing a more significant challenge that isn’t yet in a place where technologies closest to reaching the metaverse vision come at an affordable cost for the average user.