Meta Quest Pro, or Cambria? What We Know About Meta’s Next VR Headset


That Oculus Quest 2 (now called the Meta Quest 2) has become a surprisingly successful virtual reality headset and remains ours Favorite VR device although I am two years old and expensive. But there are more VR headsets on the horizon. Facebook’s parent company Meta is expected to release four new headsets over the next few years Qualcomm chipsbut the next one on deck is coming this October, most likely during Meta’s Virtual Connect Conference on October 11th, and it will probably be called Quest Pro.

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Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the headset’s announcement timing during an interview recently on Joe Rogan’s podcast. And based on convincing looking leaks of the headset we already know the design and the packaging.

The headset, too”Project Cambria,” was announced last year. However, don’t expect it to be a real Quest 2 sequel. Instead similar to what Mark Zuckerberg to CNET As early as 2021 it will likely be a business and pro-focused headset with a significantly higher price point.

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Project Cambria (or Quest Pro) appears to be a far more expensive and advanced type of AR/VR hybrid, a bridge device that could be an amazing VR headset but also enable mixed reality by combining real world video with VR via enhanced cameras.

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The Cambria will also add new sensor technology (specifically eye tracking and face tracking) that could open up new possibilities for interacting in VR and animating your avatar. But this eye tracking also raises questions about privacy.

Wearing a headset, Mark Zuckerberg smiles while sampling Meta Cambria

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gives a brief look at the next-gen headset via Facebook.

Facebook

Standalone, like the Quest 2

Yes, the Cambria appears to be a standalone device like the Quest 2. But also like the Quest 2, expect it to be able to optionally connect to PCs and to some extent phones. Early reported design mockups show a design that appears smaller than the Quest 2, but a larger battery could mean more weight. Meta has already confirmed that the headset will be more compact where the lenses meet the face, using “pancake lenses” that can compress the distance needed to create convincing 3D effects.

The larger battery appears to be able to sit on the back of the headset, creating a design more akin to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, an augmented reality headset, as Meta’s existing Oculus VR glasses. VR devices like that HTC Vive Focus 3 (and Meta’s own Battery strap accessories for the Quest 2) also place batteries on the back of the headset.

While more recent reports like that of The Information Cambria are calling it a “laptop for your face”, suggesting more standalone performance, expect the headset to be able to connect to computers for more powerful applications, much like the Quest 2 can currently.


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Meta’s next VR headset: Should you get a Quest 2 or wait?


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More sensors

Mark Zuckerberg, in a Conversation with CNET Last year told me that a Pro version of the Quest would focus on more sensor technology. Eye and face tracking are already known, but it’s possible the Cambria will add more health and fitness tracking. Fitness has been a key focus for Meta’s VR platforms, and the company has already acquired one Subscription Fitness Service that measures heart rate via a paired Apple Watch. (That OculusMove App syncs with Apple Health.) Meta is also reportedly working on that own smart watch.

How will it mix reality?

Project Cambria’s enhanced external cameras capture passthrough color video and display it on the headset’s internal display. The Quest 2 can also “see through” and show the outside world, but in a grainy black-and-white video feed. The Quest 2 overlays this feed with some VR, such as B. Boundaries of space, creating a kind of mixed reality. Expect the Cambria to make this much more realistic.

Mark Zuckerberg gave a short demo about the possibilities of the headset already in May via Facebook.

I have already tried An example of this technology is a very high quality VR headset made by a Finnish company called Varjo. The Varjo XR-3 uses lidar and cameras to scan the real world; it then layers VR in a way that can look almost as convincing as the effects in AR headsets from Microsoft and Magic Leap. I would expect Metas Cambria to attempt something very similar.

Metas aspirations for future AR glasses haven’t been realized yet, but Cambria could end up being a toolkit for developers to create AR-style experiences that could also use hand (and eye) tracking.

Another look at Project Cambria.

Facebook’s next VR headset will have face tracking and eye tracking.

Facebook

How does eye tracking work?

We don’t know the details, but most of them do Eye tracking in VR works similarly: infrared cameras measure eye movement, some trackers also take pictures of your eye. Eye tracking does some pretty useful things: Foveated rendering can produce better graphics with less processing power by showing only the highest-resolution detail where your eye’s fovea is looking, potentially meaning better battery life or performance in a smaller headset .

Eye tracking can also be used to provide more realistic eye contact for avatars and combine with hand tracking and controllers to improve control accuracy. It could even mean better accessibility for those who don’t have full mobility and only use eye control to operate the VR interface.

Meta appears to be adding face tracking cameras as well as eye tracking that could be used to map emotions and facial expressions into avatars. But all this tracking comes with additional privacy issues. While Meta has promised transparency and limits on the use of tracking data, Facebook’s story from user Data Abuse leaves many concerns.

Mark Zuckerberg avatar in VR

Mark Zuckerberg promises new avatars soon: will they be more expressive or more awkward?

Meta

Maybe better avatars?

Zuckerberg promises that this headset will animate avatars more realistically and could come with improved meta-avatars. Mark Zuckerberg’s latest cartoon avatar in Horizon Worlds has become a much-ridiculed meme, but will eye-tracking and better graphics make interactions feel better than what’s currently possible? Meta will make this a big part of Cambria’s efforts, but how the next headset’s enhanced avatar controls will play out with Quest 2’s other owners isn’t clear.

Chances are it won’t be so much a gaming console

If the Cambria headset goes over $800, there’s no way it’s going to be as popular as the Quest 2 is now. Meta seems to imply that’s not the point of Cambria, meaning game developers may not be as focused on the new hardware.

Facebook has funded many gaming and art projects on its VR platforms in the past, but it sounds like Cambria isn’t about to re-debut games. Instead, Meta will likely focus on a wide range of business, exercise, fitness, and AR crossover apps to help build metaverse visions. With that in mind, current Quest 2 owners may have had the best VR gaming console for a while (up until now). PlayStation VR2
comes at least 2023).

The Information’s most recent report on the Meta Cambria reiterates that this headset’s greatest strengths – better screen resolution, eye-tracking, passthrough mixed reality – will be tools to advance Meta’s vision for work and the future of VR. Watch out for competing high-end VR and AR products like Vive Focus 3, HoloLens 2 and Varjo’s headsets where professional applications are the clear goal. Meta has had great success appealing to gamers, but convincing workplaces to adopt its technology will be more difficult.

The Quest 2 and controllers

Released in 2020, the Quest 2 remains one of our favorite headsets. It may not be replaced before 2023.

Scott Stein/CNET

Should you buy a Quest 2 now or wait for Cambria (or a future Quest 3)?

A true sequel to Quest 2 may not appear until 2023, according to recent reports. The Quest 3 is expected to be a headset that would compete and potentially replace the Quest 2 at the same price point, but not this year. However, the Cambria is not expected to be that headset. If the Cambria headset is as expensive as Meta says, it probably won’t even compete with the Quest 2 for most buyers. Instead, it may be more about pushing more advanced features (eye-tracking, mixed reality, better display quality) that could later flow into cheaper products.

Keeping the concepts of “Cambria” and “Quest 3” separate in your mind will help you plan your purchasing decisions. The Cambria may only appeal to enthusiasts and professionals with money to spend. I don’t expect any VR headset to match Quest 2’s $400 price anytime soon, other than perhaps TikTok parent company ByteDance’s upcoming Pico headset.

The Quest 2 is still a fantastic headset for its price, and Meta regularly updates the software with new features. Unless you’re a pro who wants a top-end headset at all costs, you probably don’t have to wait for what the Cambria will be later this year. However, if you have a PlayStation 5, you might want to wait and see what the PlayStation VR2 is like.



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