Meta, Facebook’s new name, is getting more serious about virtual and augmented reality technologies. The social media company began to reveal important parts of its envisioned metaverse.
Meta’s VR Glove
The Meta Quest 2 was already considered one of the best wireless VR headsets available, according to Wired.
Recently, executives from Meta Reality Labs, the company’s research and development arm, revealed a wrist wearable that translates electrical motor nerve signals into digital commands and an upcoming Project Cambria headset that is supposed to support realistic avatars and advanced eye-tracking.
The Meta Reality Labs had acquired the supernatural VR workout app maker in October.
In the same month, Meta is also working on iOS and with AR and VR filters for creators from the Connect event.
Now, the social media company is revealing another one of these future virtual reality prototypes. This time it is a haptic gloves created to give the wearer sensations that mimic the feel and weight of real objects when they are handled in virtual space.
Slip on this VR glove, and you will be convinced that you are holding the real thing, or something close to it, even when the object is only digital.
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The chief scientist at Meta Reality Labs, Michael Abrash, and the director of research science at the Labs, Sean Keller, said that the haptic glove has been in the works for a couple of years and is still nowhere close to being released to the public.
But it is an another part of the big AR/VR picture for Meta, one where sight and sound and touch fuse together to make an augmented digital world more realistic.
Abrash said that what they are trying to do is figure out how to give you rich feedback so that your hands become fully useful.
This is a key piece and one of the most difficult, long-term riskiest pieces, but once that it is in place, then VR can really become an environment in which almost anything is possible that you effectively capable of doing, according to The Verge.
The issue that Meta is trying to solve is a real one in VR, one that other tech companies have taken stabs at too. Slip on a VR headset, and you are cut off from the real world, according to CNET.
Slip on a VR headset with inside-out tracking, the term that is most often used to describe sensors and cameras that capture the environment around you, and moving around in VR becomes more manageable.
But then when you try to use your hands to pick up virtual objects, the whole filtration with VR falls flat. It suddenly feels disorienting.
Controllers are a great proxy for hands and it allows you to at least navigate menus or play games while you are wearing a full-fledged headset.
However, these are mostly input devices and do not give you the kind of tactile feedback you would get with your actual hands.
Upstarts like SenseGlove, HaptX, Hi5, and Manus, among others, have shown off gloves that are designed for use with VR headsets and are supposed to capture precise hand-tracking and finger movement data.
But Meta’s Reality Labs division has now spent seven years working on this current prototype and has committed to spending at least $10 billion in 2021 alone on its metaverse hardware, software, and apps.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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