Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook virtual reality lead and soon-to-be CTO Andrew Bosworth (or “Boz”) are playing with prototype VR (or AR) technology and want to show it off. Both managers have posted pictures of herself wearing prototype headsets and linking the concepts to Facebook’s work on the metaverse. While the headsets the two wear are in no way guaranteed to be genuine retail products, it’s an interesting look at what’s going on in Facebook’s virtual reality lab.
The headset Zuckerberg wears resembles the company’s Oculus headsets. However, he identifies it as “retina resolution,” an Apple expression for displays with such a high pixel density that you can’t distinguish individual dots at a normal working distance. The headset Boz is wearing has a more intriguing design – it looks, to be honest, almost exactly like drawings and descriptions of Apple’s rumored VR headset. Aside from Zuckerberg’s vague “retina” commentary, there’s really no detail about what kind of headsets they are, what they’re capable of, or even whether they’re non-functional design models.
Proud of the research Michael Abrash’s team is working on at FRL-R Redmond – excited to get an early look at some of the technologies that will power the metaverse (we’re working on several prototype headsets to prove concepts, this is one of them. It’s a long story.) pic.twitter.com/Yi9xjy5HmG
– Boz (@boztank) October 13, 2021
That might be to be expected, as this isn’t a Facebook product announcement. While the company has released a pair of smart (and screenless) Ray Bans, which it called a step on the path “towards full augmented reality glasses,” Facebook’s virtual reality lab is also teasing many prototypes that are unlikely to make it. market. That includes things like the gruesome eye-projection headset, the investigative Aria AR glasses, and a proof-of-concept set of VR glasses (which show you a virtual world instead of magnifying the real one). Instead of selling headsets, Boz and Zuckerberg seem to be selling their metaverse concept, which the company says is a virtual world that could be the next version of the internet. If you want to take a deep dive into what exactly that means, check out my colleagues’ great explanations.
If you’re looking for a true next-gen headset, it might be worth keeping an eye on HTC’s recently leaked Vive Flow headset. Hilariously, one of HTC’s Vive executives responded to Boz, asking if he’d be willing to trade the prototype headset for a non-factory one. Boz declined the offer.