When Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s change from Facebook to Meta, the metaverse became his primary focus. The Meta CEO was honest in saying that it would take years before anything major comes to fruition, and newly revealed Meta headset prototypes proves wholly prove that sentiment.
In a recent event, Zuckerberg proved that his “metaverse is the future” rhetoric is still a long way away. With an odd Meta headset prototype leading the way, it’s clear that the company is in this for the long run.
Starburst isn’t ready to burst
Meta’s prototype headset shown off by The Washington Post blew minds earlier this week, but not in a good way. Dubbed Starburst — not the fruit-flavored candy — the cutting-edge prototype failed to impress anyone.
As the article says, it looks like someone grabbed a bunch of computer parts and shoved it on their heads. Even Zuckerberg isn’t a fan, calling the prototype “wildly impractical.”
Meta seems to agree they point out how they need to make the design sleeker to be more appealing. People already have a hard time making regular VR headsets work, let alone something unwieldy like the Starburst. If that wasn’t bad enough, the visuals of this thing have also been disappointing, as the prototype headsets are too wide to spread the pixels properly.
“The goal of all this work is to help us identify which technical paths are going to allow us to make meaningful enough improvements that we can start approaching visual realism,” said Zuckerberg.
As expected, Meta has other metaverse prototype headsets aside from the unwieldy Starburst. Called the Butterscotch, this prototype also has size problems but the visuals are much better than the Starburst, though its narrower FoV means you don’t get as much of the virtual world as you would through the Starburst. However, this headset is still not ready for the public, with chief scientist Michael Abrash saying it’s “nowhere near shippable.”
What is cool in these demonstrations is that Meta is aware that none of these headset prototypes will release. Each headset is attempting different improvements; one is attempting a wider field-of-view, another is allowing you to focus on multiple parts of a scene realistically with eye tracking, another is about high resolution and HDR.
As Zuckerberg says, “the goal is to fit all of these technologies into a device that is lighter and slimmer than any device that currently exists.”
It’s clear that there is a lot of work that needs to be done, though, in Zuckerberg’s defense, he did warn us. We’re sure that the company will eventually get something done and we’ll all be doing something in the metaverse, whether we like it or not.