Meta’s augmented reality headset initially launched on Kickstarter, but the company has managed to evade the flash-in-the-pan fortune that transpires to many crowdfunded projects. The company is now ready to improve the previously released Meta 1 headset and take the covers off a much-improved version. The Meta 2 is the company’s newest augmented reality headset, and it’s accessible to pre-order now for $949.
The most prominent things about my brief time checking out the Meta 2 were that the augmented reality “objects” that emerged into my field of view acted like things in the real world. The other noteworthy aspect of Meta 2 is that you can really “pick up” and move these virtual objects, just like with real-world, physical objects.
Getting the several Meta 2 gestures functioning appropriately was a bit of a challenge. While gestures still need improvement, object stability was a pretty captivating bit of technology. The Meta 2 presented a few virtual screens with many apps on them. It was typically a collection of different web browsers, but the Meta 2 also presently works with Microsoft Office, Spotify and Zoom video conferencing. The virtual monitor system was much fascinating — I started with only one screen but ultimately had a row of five, and afterwards, two rows of five set on top of each other.
Considering the fact that the virtual objects shaped by the Meta 2 stay where you place them, you can do any of your work, take away the headset and then go back to it; objects will be left exactly where you want them. And although I was still wearing the headset, I could still walk about my virtual monitors.
It’s not certainly beneficial, but it’s a nice way to specify object permanence. Meta makes this even thrilling by permitting various headset wearers collaborate on an object — you’ll all view the same thing from different angles, relying on where you’re substantially located. And since the glasses allow you to perceive the real world as well, it’s not detaching like a virtual reality experience would be.
Some other experiences in the demo fascinated me and made me realize ways that Meta’s AR technology could prove to be really useful. The most outstanding was when a transparent human body glided into view, disclosing the skeletal structure, circulatory system and so on. You can grasp the body and split the various systems out and view each independently and walk all around it — it’s something that could be really useful. For instance, clicking on the image of an item on sale at Amazon and having it hover into my field of view to expand and spin around in 360 degrees could be a much handy tool while shopping at home.
The combination of object permanence, gesticulations and the fact that the Meta 2 offers a very extensive field of view — 90 degrees diagonal — all leads to a captivating AR experience. The headset is still a bit heavy and not something I’d like to wear all day long, but you can wear your glasses when using it.
Meta has been focusing on AR for a long time and is providing developers an upgraded tool for creating the experiences required to make this start. Though the Meta 2 may not be ready for prime time yet, it certainly seems like a step forward from mutually a hardware and software perspective.