Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked a bit about the company’s upcoming high-end VR headset Project Cambria today and what it can do. The headset is still basically under wraps, however Zuckerberg showed off a bit of the experience of using the device, giving us a good look at Cambria’s color passthrough function, which allows it do some pretty convincing augmented reality tasks.

Meta today released a new video overviewing its ‘Presence Platform’ tech which helps developers create AR experiences on Quest. In the video the company also showed some of Project Cambria’s full-color passthrough capabilities in action:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also released a video on his Facebook profile today where he sat down with Jesse Schell, founder and CEO of pioneering VR studio Schell Games.

Schell Games is currently developing what Zuckerberg described as a “hypothetical follow-up to I Expect You to Die” using Project Cambria, which is due to launch sometime this year. Instead of being sealed off from the physical world, like a typical VR headset might, Cambria’s color passthrough allows for augmented reality interactions using your own living room as the backdrop.

In a separate video (seen below), the Meta CEO tries on Project Cambria, tightens a back-mounted ratcheting knob, and plays an experience called The World Beyond, which focuses on mixing both virtual and physical spaces and using hand tracking for input. The full-color version will only be available on Cambria, Zuckerberg says, however Quest 2 users will be able to try it soon on App Lab, the experimental app library.

Schell Games is developing its I Expect You to Die-style AR experience on Meta’s Presence Platform, a suite of SDKs that, starting today, will allow any interested developer to build more advanced mixed reality applications.

Speaking to Schell, Zuckerberg talked a bit about the headset’s various sensors. It includes “a bunch of new sensors,” Zuckerberg says, including high resolution, outward-facing cameras that allow for color passthrough experiences as well as depth sensors which will no doubt help with room-tracking fidelity and establishing spatial anchors.

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Schell also spoke a bit about the studio’s experience working with Cambria’s color passthrough:

“I’m really excited about the color passthrough, because the black and white passthrough [of Quest 2] gives you sense of where you’re going, but when you have things actually in color, it’s a lot more exciting. It seems much more real, particularly when objects are blending. They key is, when you get the lighting right on the virtual objects so that they match up with the ones that are in your scene, you have these [magic moments] when you’re not sure what’s real and what’s not, and you kind of have to take the headset off and check for a second for what is there and what isn’t there.”

In the chat with Schell, Zuckerberg describes Project Cambria as having a “somewhat tighter formfactor than Quest 2.” Although gaming and fitness is likely to be an early focus, Zuckerberg says the headset is also targeting work, which he says will be better for productivity, co-creating things with other headset users, and having meetings virtually.

There’s still no precise launch information yet. As confirmed by Meta, Project Cambria is said to be priced “significantly higher” than $800, which likely positions it more for developers and prosumers. Recent reports however contend that Meta will be releasing Cambria in September, and three more VR headsets by 2024.

You can catch the full 27-minute chat between Zuckerberg and Schell below:

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  • kontis

    They have a new promotional video on Youtube, available at 720p and despite not being full HD you can still see colorization artifacts on hands.

    So rumours about color being “fake” (applied in post processing from a sperate color camera) are confirmed and it does not inspire confidence.

    Can you imagine Apple having this kind of issues? They would probably build completely new camera sensors with custom pixel layout to not have this kind or alignment problem in the first place…

    • Malkmus

      Just watched the video and don’t think there’s any way to tell if that’s in fact what’s happening. What I see is color bleed from the matte around hands when hovered only over virtual objects, but not when the hands are just in front of the real world environment.

    • We can’t judge yet. I doubt the software is finalized and a lot can change before final release. It’s certain to be a damn sight better than Quest 2’s passthrough (although that wouldn’t be too difficult). I still find it hard to get excited about the AR aspects. I would have preferred a smaller, more powerful VR only headset with higher resolution Micro OLED panels and a much larger FOV vertically and horizontally. VR always wins for me.

    • Przemo-c

      Well the tracking cameras could still be black and white and colour not being fake but from other colour cameras and that would provide the colour texture. So there could be some artefacts especially close up without being “fake”.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Why the F is Meta pushing innovations no one asked for while ignoring what most VR users really want (namely larger FOV, OLED & better comfort)?

    • Malkmus

      Sounds like you’re just misinformed. This does have a larger FOV, sharper resolution, is smaller and more ergonomic than Quest, and the Mini LED displays have better black levels as well.

      • F Michael

        The fov is the same.

        • Malkmus

          I did speak too soon (FOV is unknown so far, and leaks have only been from someone else’s impression that it may be the same as Quest 2, but that doesn’t discount a possible slight increase). But you have to admit the rest of the list of the correct and it’s not nearly what the OP is claiming.

    • CURTROCK

      The huge success and sales of the Quest 2 would indicate that Meta knows exactly what most VR users want. MR is going to be huge, potentially bigger than gaming, and Meta knows this.

      • Cless

        Wow… uh… No. Speaking at least about gaming, a gimmick at best.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Because with how much money they are losing on VR and the slow growth of the VR market, it is very obvious that they have to move to a dominantly AR based platform as soon as technically possible, because only this has a chance to win a sufficiently large number of “casual” users to pay for their giant metaverse bet.

      With est. 10mn Quest 2 sold and Meta reporting a 10bn loss for last year from Reality Labs, breaking this down by users (massively oversimplified) every Quest 2 owner got the hardware at production cost, plus USD 1000 per year for running Reality Labs plus USD 400 still open from purchasing Oculus plus other chump change. We may see ourselves as customers, but so far we are mostly very heavily subsidized guinea pigs that got hardware and software that would have to cost around USD 2000 if VR was run like a self-sustaining business for a few hundreds.

      I’d also like to see a larger FoV, OLED and better comfort, and I’m pretty sure that we will eventually get it. But I’m not surprised that Meta prioritizes creating hardware and software for a potentially huge market instead of first throwing even more money our way with hardware changes currently not feasible on a low cost mobile HMD.

    • dk

      better comfort check
      mini led now because they want to push out a headset before apple …and oled in Cambria2
      fov …..they have the research on that the problem is big fov and high pixel density and running it on xr2 or 3 and apparently dynamic foveated rendering is not good enough yeat …..but at some point they will have bigger fov and in the mean time they have to grow the user base

      • ZeePee

        Simple as that really. Nice brief rundown. I agree, sounds about right to me.

    • Mikael Korpinen

      I don’t know about others but the biggest problem I know is the lack of content.
      My vr-headset is collecting dust. I have played every good game there is

  • xyzs

    Wonder why they still blur it at this point… it leaked in every way possible.