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Mark Zuckerberg Just Showed How Meta's Next Mixed Reality VR Headset Will Work

A demo of Meta Cambria demonstrates how it blends AR and VR, while Quest 2 headsets could be used to develop apps in the meantime.

Mark Zuckerberg tries Meta Cambria
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showing a brief glimpse of the next-gen headset via Facebook.
Facebook

The next Meta VR headset after Quest 2 will be something called, for now, Project Cambria. It's a mixed reality-focused headset arriving sometime in 2022, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg just demonstrated for the first time how it'll work.

Unlike AR headsets like the HoloLens 2 and the Magic Leap 2, which have transparent lenses and layer semitransparent holographic images on top, Meta Cambria is a VR headset that uses more advanced cameras to pass color video through and blend VR into the feed. The existing Quest 2 can do this to some extent, but with grainy black-and-white video. Meta Cambria will provide higher-res color video to make the experience more realistic and useful.

First look at mixed reality on our next headset codenamed Project Cambria. This demo was created using Presence Platform, which we built to help developers build mixed reality experiences that blend physical and virtual worlds. The demo, called "The World Beyond," will be available on App Lab soon. It's even better with full color passthrough and the other advanced technologies we're adding to Project Cambria. More details soon.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, May 12, 2022

The technology has existed before, but in high-end professional headsets. I tried the Varjo XR-3, a lidar-equipped VR device that also blended video feeds with VR to achieve surprisingly convincing AR effects. 

Now playing: Watch this: Meta's Next VR Headset: Should You Get a Quest 2 or Wait?
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Meta seems to be angling for the Cambria headset to be used for professional and work purposes. Zuckerberg also hints at its use for fitness (putting trainers in your room) and for extending virtual monitors for work. In a conversation with CNET last year, Zuckerberg told us that this pro-focused headset would also help build out its vision of a work metaverse. Meanwhile, Meta will be enabling development of mixed reality apps through what it calls its Presence Platform, which will allow experiences to be cross-developed for Quest 2 and the next-gen headset. Quest 2 can do mixed reality, although in lower-quality form, with the idea that these apps will eventually work on Cambria in higher quality when it releases.

Zuckerberg also announced that a demo mixed-reality app, called The World Beyond, will be available soon for download on the Quest 2's App Lab. The app, which was briefly teased at last year's Connect conference, looks like a way to explore what mixed reality could do on VR headsets.