Meta reveals more about Project Cambria, first hands-on

Meta reveals more about Project Cambria, first hands-on

Image: Mark Zuckerberg

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We got new details about Project Cambria as well as a first impression of the passthrough mode.

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

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

Meta launches new AR interfaces

The AR demo, called The World Beyond, is meant 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 have been rolling out in stages since 2021. With the next SDK release, those features should become available in their entirety and bring new capabilities. Users will be able to map their own space and place digital objects permanently at a fixed spot.

Meta previously showed the AR demo at Connect 2021, taking advantage of Cambria’s special capabilities such as its high-quality color-passthrough mode. The World Beyond will be released on the App Lab next week 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 take a first look at the following 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 “massive improvement” over Quest.

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

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

The color and higher resolution will improve the passthrough experience and also allow Cambria to perceive the environment more clearly and distinguish objects from one another. “While the Quest may have seen three objects lying on top of each other as one big blob, Cambria may actually be able to detect clearer boundaries,” Roettgers writes.

Meta enhances hand tracking

Cambria will be all about work applications at launch, Zuckerberg tells the journalist. The headset, he said, is one in a slew of devices Meta plans to sell to businesses and knowledge workers that 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 expectations, so Meta will focus even more on hand tracking in future headsets.

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

The integration of a depth sensor is probably a more recent development. Last fall, John Carmack said that Cambria would not have integrated dedicated sensors for hand tracking and that no big leap in quality could be expected.

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