Mark Zuckerberg owns several VR headset prototypes

Meta’s Reality Labs division has unveiled new prototypes on its roadmap towards lightweight, ultra-realistic virtual reality graphics. Improvements are not ready for consumers, but designs – such as Butterscotch, Starburst, Holocaust 2 and Mirror Lake – can add up to a slimmer, brighter headset that supports better details than its current Quest2 display.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Reality Labs chief scientist Michael Abrash, along with other Reality Labs members, presented their work at a virtual roundtable last week. This phenomenon focuses on designs that the meta refers to as “time machines”: bulky evidence of the concept, such as a super-bright backlight or super-high-resolution screen, to test a particular feature. “I think we are now in the middle of a big step towards reality,” Zuckerberg told reporters. “I basically don’t think it’s going to be long until we create shots with the right credibility.” Visual technology alone is not the unresolved part of that puzzle, but it gives a leg up to meta’s intensive VR hardware research.

Wall of prototype designs from Meta Reality Labs

Zuckerberg reiterated his plan to send a high-quality headset Codenamed Project Cambria In 2022, following its launch Last year’s announcement. The Cambria supports full VR and mixed reality, thanks to the high-resolution cameras that can transmit video feed to the inner screen. It will be sent with eye tracking as a key feature for future meta headsets. From there, Zuckerberg says it plans two lines of meta VR headsets: one that will be as cheap and consumer-centric as today’s Quest 2, and one that incorporates the company’s new technology aimed at the “positive or professional quality” market. . The company monitors that through reports Already planning updates For Cambria and Quest 2, those prototypes were not discussed in the call.

Black VR headset with custom high resolution display.

Butterscotch high definition headset prototype.

Meta’s VR headsets sit separately Sequence of Augmented Reality Smart Glasses, They display images in the real world instead of blocking the screen. Meta Recently the output was resized Its first generation AR glasses and, in general, VR screens have reached consumers much faster than AR holograms. But Meta’s prototypes demonstrate how far the company thinks it should go.

Butterscotch is an attempt at a retina-quality headset display – one you can find in high-end headsets from companies like the Verjo, but not the current meta line. The design should be “nowhere to be seen” and halve the 110 degree view of Meta Quest 2. But it does provide about 2.5 times the resolution of Quest 2 (Kind of) 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, allowing users to read the 20/20 line of sight on the eye chart. According to Zuckerberg, this provides about 55 pixels per field-of-view degree, slightly below the 60-pixel-to-degree retina standard of the meta and slightly lower than that. Varjo’s 64 pixels per degree.

A bulky binocular-style VR headset.

Starfirst headset prototype.

Starburst sends less than Butterscotch, but tests a similar awesome update. The bulky design uses a powerful light bulb – which requires handles to support its weight – and produces high dynamic range (HDR) lamps with a brightness of 20,000 knights. “It’s very unlikely that this will be the first generation product direction, but we will use it as a testing ground for further research and research,” Zuckerberg said. “The goal of this work is to help identify which technological paths are going to allow us to make meaningful enough improvements.”

The Holocaust 2 moves in the opposite direction, exploring meta’s options for making VR headsets slimmer and lighter. This is the heir 2020 design developed in holographic optics, A light-bending technique that allows an almost flat panel to stand up to a thick refractive lens. The result may be as thin as sunglasses, but the meta is still in the process of creating a self-constructed light source that will power them – almost certainly a laser, not the OLEDs commonly used today. “We have to do a lot of engineering to achieve a consumer-enabled laser that meets our specifications: it’s safe, affordable and efficient, and it’s compatible with a slim VR headset,” says Zuckerberg. “Honestly, as of today, the arbitral tribunal is still at the appropriate laser source.”

The Half Dome was also discussed at the presentation, A long series of prototypes Focal planes can change depending on where users are looking. These verifocal optics started out as a clunky mechanical system in 2017 and then evolved into a line of liquid crystal lenses, and according to internal meta research, they can create the most definite (and physically comfortable) illusion of depth in VR.

Thin VR headset prototype viewed from the side

Holocaust 2 prototype.

Meta Hoff described the domain technology as “almost ready for prime time” in 2020, but today, Zuckerberg is over-scaled. “These things are far from over,” he said in response to a question about the “prime time” concept. “We’ve been doing that, we’ll want to get one of the upcoming headsets, I hope we’ll do it at some point, but I’m not going to announce anything in advance today.”

At the August SIGGRAPH trade show, Reality Labs will discuss further research, including how to capture real-world scenes more accurately for mixed realities.

The above designs are the actual hardware that Zuckerberg briefly showed during the event. But the meta revealed a prototype called Mirror Lake, which was basically interesting and never built. The design looks more like a pair of ski glasses than Meta’s bulky quest hardware, and it incorporates the thin optics of the Holocaust 2, Starburst’s HDR capabilities, and Butterscotch’s resolution. “It shows what a complete next-generation visual system would look like,” Abrash said.

On top of these features, MirrorLag reduces the feeling of being physically detached from those outside the headset, and includes an externally facing display that shows the image of the user’s eyes. Meta showed this slightly weird feature In a prototype of last yearAnd it’s not the only company interested in the concept: Apple is said to be considering a similar feature For its rumored headset. The idea is designed for a mixed reality world that contains meta Risked much of its future – But today, the company insists on increasing steps along the way.

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