The company, formerly known as Facebook, began teasing a new high-end Virtual Reality (VR) headset in late 2021. It’s called Project Cambria and it’s touted as a quasi “Quest Pro” type device. So far, details about the headset have been limited to vague teaser shots and generalities about its capabilities. However, more information has now come to light, courtesy of Mr. Zuckerberg himself. In a video posted to Facebook (where else?), he is first shown wearing the headset. The video gives a brief glimpse into Cambria’s potential, but unfortunately the headset itself is out of focus.
The video (Facebook link) takes less than a minute and shows Zuckerberg using the headset for mixed reality activities. This is significantly different from augmented reality (AR), as AR generally does not allow interaction with digital assets. Mixed reality is made possible by Cambria’s full-color video passthrough, which allows the environment you are in to be represented with digital overlays. This is what really sets Cambria apart from the Quest 2, which only offers black and white passthrough. Earlier, Zuckerberg said Cambria will be more focused on work activities than acting crazy, but the video shows a mix of both.
As soon as Zuckerberg puts on the blurry headset, he begins to interact with a gremlin on the floor. The video bounces around a lot, so it’s not entirely clear what he’s doing. However, it looks like he’s tossing a ball across the room and his fuzzy sidekick is chasing him. Zuckerberg also reaches down to pet the gremlin, but it doesn’t seem to respond to his attempt at affection (the jokes really do write themselves sometimes). You can also see him change the color of the walls in the room. He says this mixed reality demo is an experience called The World Beyond. It uses a Meta’s Presence Platform for mixed reality, which was announced last year. The full-color passthrough version will only be available on Cambria, but Meta will also release a version for Quest 2 soon.
The video also highlights some real world scenarios that seem more focused on Meta’s plans for the future. For example, it shows how he interacts with digital versions of Facebook Messenger hovering over his real desk. It also includes footage of a virtual yoga instructor guiding him through a workout. We’re not sure we want to do yoga with a headset on, but there’s clearly potential. He closes the video by saying that the tools to create these experiences will be released to developers soon.
This teaser video comes at an uncertain time for Meta. The company recently confirmed that Reuters expects budget cuts for its Reality Labs division, which has become a money pit. In its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2021, Meta stated that Reality Labs had consumed $10 billion by 2021. In its first quarter 2021 earnings report from just a few weeks ago, it also reported a workforce shutdown amid a “mass exodus.” Zuckerberg says Project Cambria will launch this year, but we still don’t know the specs or prices.