UPDATED 19:02 EST / SEPTEMBER 06 2022

EMERGING TECH

Meta to launch new mixed reality headset at virtual event Oct. 11

Meta Platforms Inc. has scheduled an event for Oct. 11 where it’s expected to debut its next-generation mixed reality headset.

The Meta Connect 2022 event will be held virtually. The site for the event says attendees can “discover how the metaverse is being built by many and why collaboration is the key to it all.” Sessions for the event include those for developers and creators with “more information and speaker details coming soon.”

Although the site for Meta Connect makes no mention of product releases, it’s known that the company’s latest headset will make its debut after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told Joe Rogan in August that the new Meta headset will debut in October.

Zuckerberg first demonstrated a prototype for the headset, known internally as Project Cambria, in May. The headset offers mixed reality by incorporating VR and live images from cameras attached to the headset similarly to augmented reality headsets. The headset differs from existing augmented reality devices, however, by digitally incorporating the outside view onto a screen inside the device, whereas typically, AR headsets overlay digital information on top of a direct real-world view through a pane of glass.

Incorporating outside visuals into the virtual world means that the headset has complete immersive control over the entire visual environment, with a much greater field of view. Users can dive directly into virtual spaces or place virtual objects into the areas physically around them.

The hardware specifications for the headset are more speculative coming into the event. The headset is expected to have a higher-resolution screen than Meta’s current Oculus Quest 2 headset, including eye and facial tracking and color passthrough. The headset will also be powered by a Qualcomm Inc. chipset.

The launch of Project Cambria may also deliver some surprises. Although games have been mentioned concerning the headset, a separate report suggested that the focus for the headset may be a “high-end device designed for productivity use cases.” Meta employees are said to have highlighted similarities between the headset and Google LLC’s Chromebook laptops and will reportedly focus mainly on enabling users to access “web-based tools and services” through a browser.

Also expected at the event are updates to Meta’s “Horizon Worlds” metaverse app. The virtual world, which has been described by some as being “supremely uncool” because of its dated graphics, will receive an update to avatar graphics.

 

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