Meta’s most recent update for its Quest VR headset, v56, will add many updates welcomeincluding improved manual tracking, system-level live captions, and the return of live streaming to Facebook.
Improved hand tracking, which Meta calls Hand Tracking 2.2, focuses on “hand responsiveness” to bring “the experience closer to controllers” and help showcase it, the company released the Move Fast demo app as part of its App Lab. Meta is also adding typing to its virtual keyboard, which could be an easier way to spell things than searching and pecking at virtual keys in the air.
I tried out manual tracking and Meta’s Direct Touch technology in Quest 2 earlier this year, and while I was pretty finicky, I thought it was still an impressive way to navigate Quest’s user interface. With these hand-tracking improvements, Meta is almost certainly trying to show off what’s possible on its devices ahead of Apple’s release of its comparatively more expensive Vision Pro.
As for live subtitles, Meta says you can use them on Meta Quest TV (an app for watching VR video content), Explore, and the Meta Quest Store. “Our goal is to improve usability and create a positive experience for everyone, while increasing accessibility for people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” Meta said in a blog post. The company is going to “explore the possibility” of taking it to “other experiences” in the future. But that’s not the only accessibility-focused update: v56 will let you remap your controller’s buttons.
Meta is also adding back the ability to live stream from its Quest headphones to Facebook after the company removed the feature two years ago. “Back by popular demand, the Live Streaming to Facebook feature has been redesigned to be as seamless and easy to use as possible, with high-quality video output and persistent access to a live chat panel so you can keep in touch with your friends while you stream,” Meta said. The feature will “roll out gradually,” according to the company.
And there’s one feature of v56 that I’m particularly excited about: automatic updates while the Quest headset charges. “Now when your headphones are charging, they will automatically power on and perform seamless OS and app updates and cloud backups so you can get back into action with as little friction as possible,” according to Meta.
In it full v56 release notesMeta says the update will start rolling out “gradually” starting the week of July 24.