Is Meta working on another XR headset following the Meta Quest 3? Just as the leading immersive technology firm started rolling out its most recent MR headset and Ray Ban Smartglasses, it appears that behind the scenes, Meta’s diverse lineup of XR engineers is working towards the next step of its headset lineup.
Currently, Meta is experiencing an uptick in MR headset orders during the holiday black Friday period. More recently, in a University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences speaker session, Meta representative and Director of Display System Research at Reality Labs Douglas Lanman claimed that his firm has worked on a prototype device called Mirror Lake that improves immersion levels. Lanman claims the proposed innovative MR headset is buildable with today’s resources.
Lanman revealed a 3D render of the Mirror Lake device in action during a session covering the “visual Turing test”, which describes creating an XR visual display indistinguishable from real life.
Douglas Lanman added:
We are doing well. We’ve stayed focused on all these problems. How close are we to passing the [visual] Turning test? Probably not that close; this is a grandiose dream. Through dozens of prototypes, we will eventually get there. But we are getting closer. Here is a rendering [of the Mirror Lake prototype] of a device that we felt, a few years ago, is practical to build now. Using holocake [lens], using multi-view eye tracking, using reverse passthrough, with hardware components that exsist. – I think the industry is ready to move to another plateau.
Mirror Lake seemingly looks to solve one of the main pain points of XR headsets in a business sense: the size, weight, and invasive form factor of many headsets. Notably, smart glasses are looking to solve this same pain point. However, to access greater computing power, headset vendors must figure out how to improve the wearability and usability of VR/MR headsets to ensure practical frontline usage in settings like factory floors.
While Meta has not yet released the Vision Pro-style feature on any of its available headsets, it does prove that Meta is taking note of Apple’s unique approach to the XR headset industry and applying innovations by others to the Meta XR portfolio. However, Lanman explained that the Mirror Lake design was under prototype “a few years” ago. Therefore, similarities to the Vision Pro may be coincidental.
Another Mirror Lake breakthrough that Douglas Lanman noted was holocake lens, a new display technology that follows up from Meta’s pancake lens. The holocake lenses improve XR headset accessibility by providing integrated support for those who need to wear prescription glasses.
Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, recently posted a video on his social media promoting enterprise and education customers to leverage XR.
In the promotional video, Clegg highlighted the potential of Metaverse technologies to transform how we work and learn, explaining how European companies leverage AR and VR to enhance industries and improve people’s lives.
Clegg also added:
European business leaders such as Lufthansa, Iveco, Alstorm, and Decathlon are already using immersive technologies to develop products, to train employees, and engage customers. – Others, like virtual medicine, are using Metaverse technologies in groundbreaking ways to support medical professionals, educators, and students in fully immersive digital environments. The impact of the Metaverse is real, and it’s happening today, right now. – As Metaverse technologies continue to progress, more and more opportunities will open up.