The year 2022 is shaping up to be a milestone year for virtual and artificial reality headsets, with Meta (formerly Facebook) all set to launch the successor of its Oculus product line, Project Cambria.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has described the headset as “a completely new and advanced product” that is “at the higher end of the price spectrum.”
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The device was first announced at the Meta Connect Conference in October last year, and is in line with the tech giant’s north star to create its own functioning Metaverse—a network of 3D virtual worlds.
Project Cambria VS Oculus Quest 2
Project Cambria is expected to be a self-contained and wireless high-end virtual and artificial reality hybrid headset, with a plug-in slot for PCs.
The existing 10 million Oculus Quest headsets customers need not purchase VR libraries to upgrade to Project Cambria. Instead, Meta has made the device compatible with Quest.
Zuckerberg reiterated Project Cambria isn’t intended as a replacement of the Oculus Quest line, but an expansion of it—and the next iterations, Oculus Quest 3 and Quest 4, are in the works.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between Project Cambria and Oculus Quest 2:
- While Oculus Quest 2 is aimed at the entry-level market, the target audience for Project Cambria are pros with expertise in mixed-reality products.
- Project Cambria is expected to be noticeably more advanced than any of the previous Oculus headsets. While Oculus Quest 2 was priced at USD 299, this product is likely to set you back at USD 500.
- Project Cambria is expected to have the much-awaited eye-tracking feature. This will be very helpful for developers of advanced VR applications for two reasons: It will provide them with useful data on what users focus their gaze on; and it will let them take advantage of foveated rendering (that is, the ability to render only the area of the screen that a user is looking at, while the surrounding areas are shown in lower fidelity). Foveated rendering will allow the device to maximise the usage of its processing power.
- Project Cambria will also have face-tracking–allowing in-game avatars to mimic the facial expressions of its users in real time– with a possible lip-reading capability upgrade down the line. In a podcast interview for The Information, Zuckerberg said, “I’d love to get to the point where you have realistic avatars of yourself, where you can make real authentic eye contact with someone and have real expressions that get reflected on your avatar.”
- The device will also include passthrough features (which lets users see the real world through goggles) in high resolution and full colour. This is in contrast to Oculus Quest’s offering of a monochrome, low resolution view of the world outside of its headset.
What will Project Cambria look like?
The hardware of Project Cambria is anticipated to be slimmer than its Oculus predecessors, thanks to mini LED panels. This is likely to downsize the frontmost end of the headset, making it more comfortable than the forerunners. Taking cues from Rift S and PlayStation VR, the headset may also feature greater padding on the back-end of the strap and at its forehead rest—rendering it more ergonomic.