With these experimental VR headphones, the digital will likely be “no totally different from the true” in keeping with Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, is waving a chunky virtual reality headset called Butterscotch. This is a prototype, used only for research, which is part of the great effort of the social network to revive its vision of the metaverse.

Butterscotch’s resolution is about two and a half times higher than Quest 2, the virtual reality headphones currently on the market. The head of Meta explained that the resolution is good enough for people to clearly see objects from a distance of six meters.

Mark Zuckerberg is convinced that creating more realistic images of virtual reality will make users feel as if they are physically present with another person, even if they are not in the same room. ”
Being able to express yourself in the most impressive and realistic way possible is a very powerful thing.
“He said. ”
We are right now in the middle of a big step towards realism

VR headphones could replace TVs, says Mark Zuckerberg

Meta has big plans for a metaverse, virtual spaces for work, play and socializing. But there is still a long way to go. Helmets must follow the movements properly and be more comfortable in the hope that they will win over the general public.

Meta does not disclose data on the sale of its headphones for virtual reality, but we know that the company has not made any profit with its metaverse activity and does not expect to do so for a long time. In the first three months of this year, Reality Labs, Meta’s metaverse, lost $ 2.96 billion. The company is betting on what will come after the mobile internet in the long run, betting on the metaverse.

Mark Zuckerberg has been evangelizing virtual reality for several years after buying Oculus for more than $ 2 billion in 2014. He wants people who wear his headphones to feel like they are in the physical presence of a loved one or co-worker. In the future, he believes, it may no longer be necessary to buy TVs. ”
If you have good mixed reality headphones or augmented reality glasses, the screen or TV on your wall can only be a hologram.

This vision is far from being realized. Although Meta has improved its VR headphones, using them takes us to virtual spaces worth cartoons that look more like video games than the real world. The company has yet to address issues of harassment and privacy in virtual worlds, which it is already fighting on its social networks.

glasses of mixed reality

During a video conference with reporters, Mark Zuckerberg and Meta employees presented Mirror Lake, one of the company’s most ambitious projects. The headphones are reminiscent of a pair of ski goggles and connect the physical and digital worlds, a technique known as mixed reality. But Mirror Lake is just a concept and Meta hasn’t made these glasses yet and it’s not yet known if this idea works.

Meta researchers have shown what mixed reality glasses might look like, explaining that this is just a concept for now. © Meta

Meta hopes that Mirror Lake will deliver a retina resolution level with HDR, eye tracking, multi-focus eye technique and holographic lenses that use lasers to create 3D visuals. The device could optionally include external screens to display the look and expression of the user’s face.

New visual technology in a series of experimental helmets

Meta also unveiled Holocake 2, its thinnest and lightest virtual reality headset that can run PC VR games. This prototype could pave the way for less bulky VR headphones.

Similar to the design of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, the headphones use holographic lenses, which simulate ordinary lens optics, but are flatter than the curved lenses used in Quest 2. Most VR headphones have thick lenses, which makes the front of the device feel so heavy. Instead of projecting light through a thick lens, Holocake 2 scatters it through a hologram lens. The target also reduced the distance between the eye and the screen to reduce most of the headphones.

Meta has developed many prototypes of VR headphones in an attempt to improve technology. © Meta

However, the Holocake 2 uses lasers to power optics and it is still difficult to find ready-made lasers to integrate into VR headphones. To enhance its virtual reality, Meta uses a test that assesses whether what is displayed in VR headphones may differ from the real world. The company calls it the Turing Visual Test, compared to English mathematician Alan Turing, who developed another test in the 1950s to determine if a computer could think like a human. So far, no virtual reality technology has passed the visual Turing test.

Meta identified four barriers to creating better displays: resolution, focus, distortion, and dynamic range, which are used to improve image brightness and contrast.

One problem is that VR headphones have a significantly lower range of colors, brightness and contrast than TVs, laptops and mobile phones, explained Michael Abrash, director of research at Meta Reality Labs.

Mark Zuckerberg also unveiled another prototype VR headset called Starburst. Impressive and not at all ergonomic device that serves as a laboratory for improving future devices.

Mark Zuckerberg presents a prototype Starburst helmet. © Meta

Meta has also developed another prototype, called the Half Dome, which includes a varifocal lens that can help people focus better in virtual reality by making nearby objects look sharper. People who tested this type of lens felt less tired and blurred vision. They also found it easier to identify small objects, read text and react faster to the environment.

But even after years of development, Half Dome is not ready for commercialization because varifocal technology is still difficult to integrate into the consumer helmet. Later this year, Meta is expected to launch new, more expensive VR headsets called Project Cambria, which will be the first to have eye tracking.

CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: Facebook

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