Oct 12, 2022
Meta announces $1500 Meta Quest featuring Mixed Reality, Face Tracking, and More Transcript
Meta Quest Pro is Facebook’s latest VR/AR Headset. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Meta’s next VR headset the Quest Pro is $1,500. Why? Well, let me get to that. I got to take a look at this, in-depth, at Meta’s Reality Research Labs in Redmond. So I went out there to take a look at future tech demos and also to look at this headset that’s coming out this fall, October 25th.
Speaker 1: (00:20)
The Quest Pro is not a true sequel to the Quest 2 that’s been out there for two years. This VR headset is designed for a different market. You could figure that out from the price. This is meant for business people and this is meant for pro users, and it is also a sign of where Meta is going with its VR, but also it’s AR.
Speaker 1: (00:40)
When I tried it out, I was pretty surprised that it reminded me of a lot of headsets that I’ve tried before, in a good way.
Speaker 1: (00:46)
First of all, it reminds me of the Quest 2, because this is a headset that uses VR. But it also reminds me of AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, in particular, because this can do mixed reality. This is something that I’ve seen in other high end VR headsets.
Speaker 1: (01:00)
Last year I tried the Varjo XR-3 that used LiDAR, scan the world and showed me virtual objects overlaid with the real world through pass-through cameras. The Quest Pro does the same type of thing, but in a standalone headset. It has color pass-through cameras that can scan and depth map the world, kind of like you can do on your phone for AR. And you can get a picture of your room that’s shown on the display that feels basically real-time and feels like you’re sort of looking around, but in lower resolution.
Speaker 1: (01:32)
Then you drop virtual objects in there and it feels like you’re starting to have those types of AR experiences. All the demos that I tried on the Quest Pro, for the most part, were mixed reality experiences, probably to show off those features for a reason.
Speaker 1: (01:46)
The Quest Pro is slimmer and it feels lighter to wear. It has a new type of display called pancake optics that slims down the front and makes it more like a visor. The best thing about the Quest Pro headset, for my eyes, was that it slid over my glasses. Finally, my big glasses did not get in the way. The visor fit reminded me a lot of the HoloLens 2, where the headset just dropped over the front and didn’t have any extra goggle bits to jam up and block my glasses. For glasses wearers, that could be really huge.
Speaker 1: (02:17)
The display also has a wider field of view, better pixel resolution, and more contrast. Basically, it feels really good to look at, but the interesting thing is that this VR headset does not have any light blockers on the sides. It comes with a couple that you can pop on, but it’s actually meant to be used with the world around you being kind of visible from the sides.
Speaker 1: (02:37)
I thought that was weird at first, but if you’re using mixed reality, looking through that visor, it felt like I was looking through a window that was continuing the real world, like a big pair of glasses. And it created this effect that if I could see in my peripheral vision what was going on, I could then see also the regular world and drop things in it. Paint in it, mix things like a DJ, and feel like I had not taken a trip to another virtual place that I was dropping them in the space I was in.
Speaker 1: (03:05)
The lenses can also adjust for depth in and out, plus they can move to adjust a wider range of interpupillary distance or IPD, which could help people with differently shaped eyes.
Speaker 1: (03:16)
This has a couple of technologies too that are very new to the VR landscape. One is eye tracking. Eye tracking is going to be on the PlayStation VR2, which I also tried earlier this year, and Meta is using it for social interactions. It can also be used to improve the graphics in games and apps through a technology called foveated rendering, which improves the resolution only where you are looking. But Meta says that technology may not be as useful for standalone VR headsets because it also burns more energy to use.
Speaker 1: (03:49)
So it sounds like a lot of that stuff may not be turned on till later. But the face tracking stuff, and also this headset, can track the rest of your face too, not just your eyes, is used for emotional interactions and avatar things.
Speaker 1: (04:02)
I got to try a demo where I was in Horizon Workrooms, Meta’s Workspace Metaverse app. And I sat across from somebody else who was also using the headset and I could see them blinking their eyes and smiling and doing all these things that they were using the face tracking for. It was a little bit weird, a little uncanny, and a little bit glitchy, and that’s one thing I had a question about is, “How much it might make you look kind of weird?”
Speaker 1: (04:25)
But when I did it’s second demo that showed me a larger control interface with a more advanced alien type avatar that was meant to demonstrate how many different facial controls there could be. I saw things like cheek puffing and ways to curl your lip, or wink, or do this… And as I started to do them, I realized there was a lot of stuff that avatars could start taking advantage of, and it may mean that a lot of apps may start updating to take advantage of that.
Speaker 1: (04:53)
But how many really? Because face tracking is only going to be on a select few headsets, the rest of the people using VR are not able to track their faces. And it’s going to create an interesting question of who can have those facial expressions and who can’t. It’s clearly a technology that Meta may end up putting on more of their headsets, but it’s a stepping stone for now.
Speaker 1: (05:14)
Eye tracking and face tracking also bring up questions of data privacy. How is that going to be used? Now, right now Meta is making those features, apparently, ones that you turn on, that are not on by default, and apps have to ask permission to activate those features. Meta also made a point for us at our trip, that this stuff is encrypted locally and stored locally on the device and wiped over time.
Speaker 1: (05:40)
Still, a lot of questions though about if apps use this eye and face tracking data, even if it’s encrypted locally, how could it be used and how could it maybe be utilized in ways that we couldn’t anticipate? I don’t know because I’ve only used this headset for a couple of hours.
Speaker 1: (05:56)
The other things that are new on the Quest Pro are the controllers. The controllers are totally redesigned and they almost look more like the controllers I’ve seen on AR headsets, specifically the Magic Leap 2, which just came out. They ditched the ring that you’ve seen on the regular Quest controllers and they’re just those little handheld grips. And they feel denser, but they feel pretty similar to what I’ve been using before.
Speaker 1: (06:21)
But these controllers have their own built-in cameras. They track the world and don’t require any of the built-in headset cameras that are on the Quest Pro, which means you could use them behind your back or turn around and they could not lose tracking. In the few demos I tried, the tracking seemed to hold pretty well. That is also something that the Magic Leap 2 controller uses, so it may be a trend that we start seeing going forward.
Speaker 1: (06:45)
This also has much better haptics. Now haptics are the rumbling thing that you find inside your controller, or in your phone, or your watch. On the PlayStation VR2, which I tried recently, had fantastic realistic haptics for feeling bows and arrows and weapons and even rumbling in the headset.
Speaker 1: (07:01)
The Meta Quest Pro has a similar type of feeling in that I could paint and actually feel ripples of the paintbrush against the canvas when I was painting. Or if I was drawing on a piece of paper using a stylist I was holding, I could feel kind of scratchy feedback. That’s where the haptics could be really useful for productivity to be able to know when you’re touching something and when you’re not.
Speaker 1: (07:22)
And speaking of writing, a crazy weird thing on the controller is it actually turns into a stylist. There are stylist tips that come with it that attach to the bottom of the controller and allow you to hold it like a big chunky pen and be able to write with it.
Speaker 1: (07:37)
Now, the Quest 2 already does that with Horizon Workrooms, where you can hold the controller upside down like that, but that stylist tip really made it feel much more like I was writing.
Speaker 1: (07:47)
The Quest Pro controllers added another nifty feature, which is that there’s a pinch function on the side. There’s a pressure sensitive panel that you can press down on along with the trigger and feel like you’re squeezing objects when you push your fingers together.
Speaker 1: (08:01)
The Quest Pro has a couple of other useful things. First of all, it charges from its own built-in dock, which is new, and the controllers recharge from it as well. Those controllers are going to be sold separately, so if you have a Quest 2, you could also buy those for $300, which is almost the cost of a Quest 2 headset. So that’s a lot. I don’t know if that’s necessarily going to be worth it.
Speaker 1: (08:22)
The question I have now looking at the Quest Pro, wearing it, and demoing it for all these different things is, “What comes next? Is this a headset that is bridging to augmented reality? Is this kind of Meta’s bridge device?” And I think it is because when I came away from using it, I thought more about Magic Leap and HoloLens than I thought about VR. And when you look at that market, where you have $2,000, $3,000 headsets designed for business, maybe the Quest Pro is designed to compete with those.
Speaker 1: (08:52)
And as Meta works out more of its AR headset plans, it starts to evolve that into being something that’s for that use where people are used to paying thousands of dollars. Now, it’s at that bridge point where a $1,000, $1,500 almost feels like something someone might buy, potentially, but it’s so much money that I can’t really say if it’s worth it.
Speaker 1: (09:14)
And the battery life is also a concern. Apparently, one to two hours, which is not that much and sounds a bit less than the Quest 2. It sounds like something that you’re meant to be tethering with while using and designed to maybe be sitting down and using. I think you have to kind of make that decision for yourself, whether you use VR that much for productivity and want to be in Meta’s ecosystem to make that worthwhile.
Speaker 1: (09:37)
Another interesting thing about the Quest Pro is it has a whole new chip, a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR 2 Plus, which is supposed to have 50% more processing power. Now the Quest 2 and other VR headsets right now are using the XR2. Maybe this is a stepping stone to the next generation. Or is there going to be an even better chip down the line? Interesting that it has a whole new processor though.
Speaker 1: (09:59)
And that brings up the question of when we’re going to see a Quest 3. We’re not seeing a Quest 3 right now. There will be a Quest 3 at some point. It looks like Meta’s trying to stagger the Pro and the consumer headsets, so that if you’re really thinking about getting the next everyday VR headset, don’t think about this one, think about the one that’ll probably be coming maybe next year.
Speaker 1: (10:19)
Anyway, thanks for watching. If you have any questions or comments, this is interesting to you, do you feel like AR or any of these things would be useful, let me know down below. And make sure to like and subscribe. Thanks for watching.