Meta reveals more about Project Cambria, hands-on first

Meta reveals more about Project Cambria, hands-on first

Image: Mark Zuckerberg

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We have new details about Project Cambria and a first impression of the passthrough mode.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised new info about the upcoming VR headset yesterday. According to Zuckerberg, the focus will be on the augmented reality mode of the device.

Today he published a short video in which he puts the device on the device and tries out an augmented reality demo. He also shows video images from a first-person perspective. Project Cambria itself is so pixelated for the video that you can’t make out any details. Meta is apparently not ready to show the final design yet. So far, only a render video of the device can be seen.

Meta launches new AR interfaces

The AR demo, called The world out there, is intended to demonstrate the capabilities of Meta’s Presence Platform. The Presence Platform is a group of interfaces for Meta Quest and Project Cambria that enables natural interactions and advanced augmented reality.

Portions of this will be rolled out in phases since 2021. With the next SDK release, those features should be available in their entirety and provide new capabilities. Users can map their own space and place digital objects permanently in a fixed place.

Meta previously showed the AR demo at Connect 2021, taking advantage of Cambria’s special capabilities, such as the high-quality color pass mode. The World Beyond will be released next week in the App Lab and will be available to try out with Meta Quest 2, but only in grainy black and white passthrough video.

VR studios Resolution Games and Schell Games have prepared their own AR demos, which should also be released soon. You can get a first look in the next video.

Cambria cameras: three times the resolution

The website log reveals more information about the hardware. Editor Janko Roettgers was able to test The World Beyond with a pre-release version of Cambria. He calls the color throughput a “huge improvement” over Quest.

“It’s still not a photo-realistic image, but it’s starting to feel a lot less shocking. Think more decent quality home video, less ‘Blair Witch Project,’ said Roettgers.

Zuckerberg said the sensors’ resolution will be three times that of Quest 2, and Meta has a roadmap for achieving even more. “We’ll keep going on that,” Zuckerberg says.

The color and higher resolution will enhance the passthrough experience and also allow Cambria to perceive the environment more clearly and distinguish objects from each other. “While the Quest has seen three objects stacked together as one big blob, Cambria may be able to detect clearer boundaries,” Roettgers writes.

Meta improves hand tracking

Cambria will be all about work applications at launch, Zuckerberg tells the journalist. The headset, he said, is one of a whole host of devices Meta will sell to companies and knowledge workers who will one day replace the laptop or workstation. By the end of the decade, headsets of this type are expected to become the primary work device.

Roettgers’ article also reveals that Cambria will have an IR depth sensor that should also benefit hand tracking. The technology Meta introduced with Meta Quest has exceeded the company’s expectations, so Meta will focus even more on hand tracking in future headsets.

“With Cambria and the future devices, we now have this whole sensor architecture that’s going to be more optimized. So you just have much better hardware support for that,” says Zuckerberg.

The integration of a depth sensor is probably a more recent development. Last fall, John Carmack said Cambria wouldn’t have integrated dedicated sensors for hand tracking and that no major leap in quality was to be expected.

Sources: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Link), Protocol 1, 2

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