The XR Week Peek (2022.09.12): Meta Quest Pro leaked, Snap working on future Spectacles, and more!

Happy Mid Autumn Festival everyone! This weekend people in China were celebrating one of the most important holidays of the year, and I got as a gift a lot of Chinese food, including some mooncakes, so I was able to celebrate it, too! I hope you had a nice weekend as well 
 It’s been a pretty intense week for me: I worked really a lot; I have been banned from Twitter twice in two days because its AI thought that my posts about Pico were porn images (my account has been restored, don’t worry); I’ve seen the posters of the project I’m working on being attached in the metro stations in Paris; I had an emotional interview with the guy that made me start my blog; I survived another Apple event without XR news (which are coming always “next year”); and I ended with the very long review of Pico Neo 3 Link that took me ages to write (please make me happy and read it!).
 … and now, let’s start another amazing week with a new roundup of news!

Top news of the week

(Image by Meta)

Meta teases Cambria launch at Meta Connect, then the device gets leaked

In a few days, lots of things have happened about Meta Cambria.
 Let’s start from the beginning: on Tuesday, Meta announced the Meta Connect, a one-day event set for October, 11th, in which Meta is going to reveal its latest advancements about XR and the Metaverse. The event is going to start with a keynote by Mark Zuckerberg and will feature the usual unscripted talk by John Carmack, who will speak from VR. Some code in the webpage talks about a way of enjoying the event in VR (probably in a way similar to Venues), but it is mostly a virtual event to be enjoyed via 2D streaming. Meta put an image of Zuck wearing Cambria in the press kit of the event, and this is a clear hint that Project Cambria will be announced at Meta Connect.
 Before the weekend, we had a new leak about Cambria: the device will feature a lovely home environment called Cascadia. Data miner Bast564 discovered it and shared a video about it online.
 Then yesterday the unthinkable happened: a guy shared online some pictures and a video about a Project Cambria headset and its box. The story behind this leak has no sense at all: the guy works at a hotel, and someone left in his room these boxes, so he was able to find them and show them to the community. This story has the same believability as the plot of a porn movie. First of all, no one would have ever carried that headset in a hotel, because people who own a Cambria are requested to keep it in a specific place. Then, even if this person did, he would have never carried two boxes of the device, with the name clearly written on it, with him. And he for sure would never have forgotten them in a hotel room… a hotel where totally by chance works a guy who owns a channel about gaming and is active on VR forums. I mean, this story smells. In my opinion, it is a controlled leak to ruin the launch of Pico 4, which according to rumors is happening these days… but of course, I could be wrong.
 From the leaked images, we can see that Cambria is exactly like the leaks by Brad Lynch showed it to be. It doesn’t seem that pretty, so I hope it will be functional. The containing box is similar to the one of Quest 2, because the device is a Quest itself, since it is called Meta Quest Pro. Now we just need to know the price. It’s a pity the guy didn’t leave in the room also a piece of paper with the price of the headset written on it…

More info (Meta announcing Meta Connect)
More info (Meta Connect to be probably enjoyable in VR)
More info (Meta teases Cambria for Connect)
More info (New Home for Project Cambria)
More info (Quest Pro leaked pictures)
More info (Quest Pro leaked photos and video)
More info (Quest Pro leaked unboxing video)
More info (The unbelievable story of the leak)

Other relevant news

New specs of Pico 4 revealed

We have a new leak about the upcoming Pico 4 Pro headset. The device, which should compete with Meta Quest Pro, is expected to feature:

RGB cameras to offer AR passthrough

High-quality haptics on the controllers thanks to the use of LRA (Linear Resonant Actuators), which are motors able to provide strong and detailed haptics

Automatic IPD adjustment. Thanks to eye tracking, this headset is able to detect your IPD and automatically adjust the distance between the lenses to fit your eyes.

The third one is the most intriguing of the features list: automatic IPD adjustment is usually typical of very expensive headsets like Varjo Aero or XTAL. Finding it on a device that is somewhat closer to the consumers is interesting news.
 I can’t wait to discover the price and the release date of the upcoming Pico headsets!

More info

Snap is working on the next version of Spectacles

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel teased that the company is working on the next version of Spectacles in an internal memo shared by The Verge:
 We will continue to invest in Spectacles, making long term bets on new technology and executing against the design for our next generation product.
 Snap is one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and one of the most committed to augmented reality. Its Spectacles glasses may not be the most popular among techies, but many creators love them because they can use the glasses to create artistic stuff in the wild, by creating AR filters that take life in front of their eyes. Spectacles are also the only AR glasses out there that can be used outdoors. So Snap is a company to keep an eye on for what concerns glasses, and it is cool that is working on a new version of its hardware. The less pleasant news is that according to the memo, the new device will be devoted to developers, so it will still be a devkit.

More info

HTC releases eye and face tracking for Vive Focus 3

HTC doesn’t want to lose the VR train, so it has just found a creative way of competing with Meta Quest Pro. Instead of releasing a new headset, it has launched two accessories that the existing customers of Vive Focus 3 can attach to their device to give it eye and face tracking.
 The two devices, which are manufactured by HTC itself (so without the support of 7Invensun this time), have a price of $100 for the Facial Tracker and $250 for the Eye Tracker. The face tracker can be attached below the headset to offer the tracking of “38 blend shapes across the lips, jaw, cheeks, chin, teeth, and tongue to precisely capture true-to-life facial expressions and mouth movements on avatars”. The eye tracker, instead, can be attached as a magnetic insert in the internal part of the device, and HTC claims it’s accurate to within 0.5°~1.1° after the 9-point calibration process.
 Considering the hefty price of the Focus 3 (around $1300), it makes sense for HTC to offer these functionalities as add-ons, without making customers buy a new headset. I don’t think this may make the Focus 3 compete with the Quest Pro (it still lacks color passthrough, inside-out tracked controllers, and a slim design), but for sure this update can make many of its enterprise customers happy.

More info (Vive Focus 3 accessories — Road To VR)
More info (Vive Focus 3 accessories — Upload VR)

News worth a mention

(Image by Nofio)

Nofio wireless adapter surpasses Kickstarter goal

As it was highly predictable, the Nofio wireless adapter for Valve Index has surpassed its Kickstarter goal. The project was funded by raising more than $200,000 in less than 24 hours. The Australia-based startup hopes to ship its first production run starting in April 2023, which includes a batch of 2,000 units. Let’s hope it won’t be too late for Valve Index owners.

More info

Meta disbands its Responsible Innovation Team

After having announced it with much fanfare, Meta has already disbanded its Responsible Innovation Team, the team which should have been dedicated to guaranteeing more ethics in Meta’s developments. This sounds totally ironic, but actually, it is less bad than it seems. According to some workers, the team was not that useful with the current configuration, and only fostered some debates here and there. So Meta is now disbanding it and will relocate its members inside various Meta teams, so that they can perform their tasks directly from inside the working teams, which seems a more effective idea.

More info (Meta disbanding the Responsible Innovation Team)
More info (An employee showing how current R.I.T. was not working well)

Some news about the metaverse

Here you are some interesting articles about the metaverse that I found this week:

Gorilla ITR has written a long report about how it is difficult to gather data and make data analysis of the experiences that people do in the metaverse. How will the “Google Analytics” of the metaverse be? This article helps us in finding out…
Meta now lets you post your NFTs both on Facebook and Instagram, highlighting the interest of Meta in the technology
Meta is performing in Europe a (cringe) marketing campaign to promote the utility of the metaverse

Roblox is now evolving to be appealing both to its typical audience (kids younger than 13yo) and its new audience (people older than 13yo) which is formed by people that have grown up using the platform.

More info (Data analysis in the metaverse)
More info (NFTs on Facebook and Instagram)
More info (Meta European campaign)
More info (Roblox)

Discover the cost of a Pico 3

On Reddit, I have found shared the BOM of the Pico Neo 3. BOM is Bill Of Materials, and basically is a list of how much the components of the headset cost. According to this report, the overall cost of just the components is around $270. If you sum to it the cost of shipping, manufacturing, plus all the costs that the company makes to develop it (R&D, etc…) you can obtain the cost of every headset that gets manufactured.
 Since Pico 3 is very similar to Quest 2, we can assume that also Quest 2 cost around $270 just in materials. Considering that Meta was selling it at $299, it is evident how much of a loss it was having for every sold device, and why it was not sustainable in the long run.

More info

Japanese company HIKKI announces roadmap for social world Vket

Japanese company HIKKI has just published the roadmap of the upcoming features for Vket, its Web-based social world which hosts relevant VR events, like the popular Virtual Market 6, a great expo of important brands. The roadmap promises for next year amazing features like a ticketing system, and also support for 10,000 people in the same room. These are impressive numbers, and I’m very curious to see what they can deliver.
 Moved by curiosity, I wanted to give this world a look, but downloading the experience from Italy was too slow and I had to give up. I think that if HIKKI wants to expand beyond Japan, it should do something different.

More info

Disney releases AR-powered movie with Brie Larson

Disney Plus has just released “Remembering”, an AR-powered movie starring Brie Larson. If you download the companion app and use it while watching the movie, at a certain point the app will recognize an audio trigger and will tell you to point your phone at the TV. The system will recognize certain frames of the movie on the TV and will show you some augmentations related to the environment of the movie. While very simple in concept, this app makes me think about our future when probably all the movies that will see through our glasses will augment our space creating a bridge between the realities.

More info

VR Modding reaches a new milestone

VR modder Praydog has just announced a “Universal VR injector” for Unreal Engine. This universal mod features full in-engine 6DOF movement, synced eye stereoscopic 3D, detached look from weapons, and many other features almost automatically added to all UE4 games. Some games may work out of the box, while for others it represents a very good starting point for modders to add in full motion controls, and other features.
 According to some members of the community, “this is one of the most exciting things to happen in the VR Modding scene because it could mean VR mods for HUNDREDS of incredible AAA Unreal Engine games in full VR”. Exciting times ahead for the PCVR community!

More info

Some news on content

Upload VR confirms that What The Bat is one of the funniest upcoming games after a hands-on with it at Gamescom
Always at Gamescom, Upload VR has also tried the time-based puzzle We Are One, and confirms that it is a very intriguing title, where you have to solve a puzzle with different versions of yourself at different times
A third game tried by Upload has been Broken Edge, a turn-based sword fighting game

Interkosmos 2000, a new spacefaring VR game, is now available on Meta Quest 2 for $19,99

Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate Episode 1 releases on September 22 for Meta Quest 2, and it seems good from the first hands-on

Puzzling Places releases a DLC about Ukraine, promising to give to charity the money earnt from its sales

Fight Back is the new experience by Celine Tricart, aimed at giving more self-empowerment to women and also teaching them some basics of self defense
Discover Cave Digger 2, the sequel of the very popular Quest game Cave Digger

X8 is a new tactical shooter announced by Thirdverse

More info (What The Bat)
More info (We Are One)
More info (Broken Edge)
More info (Interkosmos 2000)
More info (Dyschronia)
More info (Puzzling Places)
More info (Fight Back)
More info (Cave Digger 2)
More info (X8)

Other news

Upload VR explains why Meta may have acquired Lofelt: more than the haptics engine, the reason may have been the SDK and the ability to convert from audio waves to haptics

Learn more

One of the coolest things I have seen this week is a MIDI beatboxing instrument made with Epic MetaHumans!

Learn more

Valve has fixed its hardware survey, showing that VR lately has actually grown very slowly

Learn more

We have new leaks on the RTX4090, which seems to be 78% faster than the 3090Ti

Learn more

Quest 2 will activate 120Hz mode by default

Learn more

News from partners (and friends)

For the last time…

… I invite you to register for NVIDIA GTC with my referral link, so you have a chance to win an RTX3080Ti graphics card! These are the instructions to participate in the raffle:

Step-1: Register for NVIDIA GTC using this link: To qualify, registrants need to be resident in EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, or Africa).
Step-2: Wait for the GTC to start and join the Keynote livestream.
Step-3: Attend GTC sessions. NOTE: Prizes will be awarded only to those who register for GTC using the link above and attend at least one session.
Step-4: Wait and hope to win a graphics card!

I can offer this thanks to a paid collaboration with NVIDIA. I can’t wait to gift to one of you an expensive graphics card!

Register to GTC

Some XR fun

This is how you make supermarkets in the metaverse
Funny link

Every. Damn. Apple. Event.
Funny link

This is me 2 years from now, when I will have failed both as a VR developer and VR blogger.
Funny link

I know what is the big thing which is missing…
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate for my blog, but to the poor people that are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

Alex Gonzalez VR
Eduardo Siman
Jonn Fredericks
Jean-Marc Duyckaerts
Reynaldo T Zabala
Richard Penny
Terry xR. Schussler
Ilias Kapouranis
Paolo Leoncini
Nikk Mitchell and the great FXG team
Jake Rubin
Alexis Huille
Raghu Bathina
Chris Koomen
Jennifer Granger
Jason Moore
Steve Biggs
Julio Cesar Bolivar
Jan Schroeder
Kai Curtis
Francesco Strada
Sikaar Keita
Ramin Assadollahi
Juan Sotelo
Andrew Sheldon
Chris Madsen
Horacio Torrendell
Andrew Deutsch
Fabien Benetou
Tatiana Kartashova
Marco “BeyondTheCastle” Arena
Eloi Gerard
Adam Boyd
Jeremy Dalton
Joel Ward
Alex P
Lynn Eades
Donald P
Casie Lane
Catherine Henry
Ristband (Anne McKinnon & Roman Rappak)
Enrico Poli
Vooiage Technologies
Liam James O’Malley
Hillary Charnas
Wil Stevens
Brian Peiris
Francesco Salizzoni
Alan Smithson
Steve R
Pieter Siekerman
Matias Nassi

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by Ramiro Cardenas)

The post The XR Week Peek (2022.09.12): Meta Quest Pro leaked, Snap working on future Spectacles, and more! appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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