Facebook Announces New Tech to Build the Metaverse

Get ready for advances in augmented, mixed, and virtual reality

If you are a bit worn down by actual reality, there is no better time to start looking into virtual reality, thanks to Facebook and its massive push into virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality (VR, AR, and MR, respectively). 

The company held its annual Facebook Connect conference on Thursday and threw down the gauntlet with regards to all three kinds of digital reality. Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plans for the future, wrapped in the umbrella of what he is calling the “metaverse.” What is the metaverse? Facebook’s CEO likened it to another world laid on top of the real one, calling it an “embodied Internet.” 

Facebook Connect VR Event

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"Instead of looking at a screen, or today how we look at the Internet, I think in the future you're going to be in the experiences, and I think that's just a qualitatively different experience," Zuckerberg said.

If you are looking for one gadget to illustrate his metaverse concept, the company also introduced Project Cambria. The high-end VR headset is set to launch next year and includes a bevy of features that set it apart from the company’s current flagship headset, the Oculus Quest 2. 

Cambria includes sensors that allow your virtual avatar to maintain eye contact with another avatar and even reflect facial expressions. The headset also will focus on mixed-reality experiences, with the company saying it will have the ability to represent virtual objects in the physical world with both depth and perspective. Cambria will also, of course, include tech to upgrade visual fidelity, but details will be released next year.

As for augmented reality, Facebook is upgrading its Spark AR platform, aiming it more toward creators. It is launching an iOS app called Polar that allows users to design their own AR effects and objects, with no coding experience necessary. 

Facebook also put rumors to rest regarding a new company name. It went with “Meta,” further tying itself to the idea of the metaverse and a connected virtual world.

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