Facebook just held their annual Oculus Connect presentation. In it, they revealed some new features and technology – most notably for the Oculus Quest. As supporters of the recently released headset, and XR as a whole, here are all the features that we think will be quite promising, and really challenge the future of XR.
If you haven’t watched it already, you can do so here.
At launch, the Quest released with the promise of untethered VR. This feature of the Quest, while amazingly convenient, meant that it was unable to play many of the more demanding titles currently available on the Oculus Store. With the announcement of Oculus Link, this is no longer the case. By using a USB-C cable, you can hook your Quest up to the computer, and run off of its processing power. This means that the Quest is now capable of playing larger and more ambitious titles. Oculus also announced that over 50 Oculus Go apps are coming to the headset. Oculus Link comes out in November.
Built-in Hand Tracking
Another exciting announcement was that via an update, the Oculus Quest will be able to track your hands using its cameras. This essentially means that you can play the Quest without any controllers or cords – just the headset. It will also be especially useful for programs or training where more precise and realistic hand movement is a must. While we will have to wait and see how well the tracking works, it is looking like it could rival Valve’s special Index controllers. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the Quest will likely support hand tracking by 2020.
Varifocal ‘Half Dome’ Headset
Facebook also showed off their development on a new Half Dome headset, which uses varifocal technology. The headset is designed to reduce eye strain, as the varifocal technology adapts to focus on whatever object you are looking at in VR. It could ultimately result in longer VR sessions, and increased comfort. This will hopefully lead to more headsets adapting this in the future.
Oculus for Business
Along with the previous features, Oculus has finally introduced a new platform for businesses, aptly titled Oculus for Business. This platform allows for more management over how VR is used on a larger scale – you can control the settings of many headsets very quickly, as well as choose which applications users can access from within the Quest. This prevents those using the headset from accessing programs that they shouldn’t, leading to overall better productivity.
One of the most exciting announcements, Facebook has stated that they are developing AR glasses. They plan to use advanced mapping technology called LiveMaps that not only tracks your location and the appearance of the area around you, but also uses crowdsourced 3D mapping technology. Also integrated into the glasses will be its own mapping technology, which updates as the layout of the area around you changes.
Real-time Facial Tracking
By utilising a special inner camera mount on the Oculus Rift S, Oculus is currently experimenting with real-time facial tracking. By recording the movement and appearance of the user’s face, the headset is able to deliver fully realistic replicas of users, and potentially allow for full-body avatars of people in a virtual space. While still in development, this means that in the future, VR conferences and workspaces will be a more realistic option.
This recent presentation from Facebook has definitely brought forward some very innovative and welcome ideas to XR. Here at Cognishift Technologies, we are looking forward to all of these; but we’d like to know your thoughts and opinions as well. What are you most excited for? What do you think has the most potential? Leave a comment and let us know!
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