$10 Billion Metaverse Challenge: Mark Zuckerberg Presented Prototype Headsets for His Bet

Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, such as computerized glasses or headsets, are expected to cost the corporation formerly known as Facebook at least $10 billion this year in research and development.

Many of Meta’s headset prototypes were shown off by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, demonstrating how much work the social media corporation has achieved toward that goal.

For Zuckerberg, the future of the social networking company he established lies in immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, in which computer-generated items are superimposed on the physical environment.

To emphasize the company’s new focus on the metaverse, a virtual realm in which Zuckerberg envisions people spending an increasing amount of time — ideally, through improved computerized spectacles — Meta rebranded itself last year as Meta.

Because Meta would own its own hardware platform if Zuckerberg is successful in popularising head-worn computers, the company would have a new revenue stream from hardware sales. Meta, for example, stated that Apple’s latest privacy modifications to the iPhone might lose $10 billion in sales this year since it hinders the company’s ability to target ads to specific audiences.

It’s unclear how big the VR market will become in the near future. IDC estimates that Meta’s current $299 Quest 2 headset will account for 78 percent of all headset sales in 2021, making it the most popular headset on the market.

Virtual reality headsets sold much fewer units than smartphones or desktop PCs in 2017, with only 11.2 million units shipped in total.

Investors, on the other hand, are wary of Meta’s shift away from advertising and app development. This year, the stock has dropped by over 53% on concerns about rising costs, weak growth expectations, greater competition from TikTok, and the effects of Apple’s iPhone privacy policy that hindered mobile advertising.

$10 Billion Metaverse Challenge

Meta’s stock fell more than 4% on Tuesday, despite a broader tech stock increase, despite Monday’s demonstration. Monday was a national holiday in the United States because of the Juneteenth commemoration.

What Zuckerberg Showed

During his demonstration, Zuckerberg claimed Meta is working on next-generation virtual reality screens that can make viewers feel like they’re in the same room as other virtual individuals. It’s impossible to wear current displays for extended periods of time due to their low resolution and display distortion issues.

When asked about the company’s virtual reality initiatives, Zuckerberg replied, “It’s not going to be that long before we can construct scenes in perfect fidelity.” “But you’ll feel like you’re there instead of just watching them on a screen.”

$10 Billion Metaverse Challenge

Compared to what your eyes see in the real world, screens today are “off by an order of magnitude or more,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remarked.

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For the past few years, Meta has regularly showcased its development of virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses to partners and the press in order to urge investors to view the project as valuable and to help recruit highly paid VR and AR engineers and executives.

Meta frequently exhibits unfinished prototypes for research purposes during these roundtable discussions, which is rare in the field of consumer electronics. Before releasing information to the media, gadget manufacturers like to finish their items and determine how they will be created. Apple, for example, which is developing its own headgear, never displays prototypes.

Because they’re special models made at Zuckerberg’s lab, the prototypes aren’t yet ready to be shipped, the CEO explained.

Prototypes were shown to the audience as follows:

$10 Billion Metaverse Challenge

  • Butterscotch  To test high-resolution displays with pixels so small that the human eye cannot distinguish them, Butterscotch was created. In order to display fine writing and provide a more realistic visual experience, Meta created a new lens for Butterscotch.

However, Meta claims that the prototype was “nowhere near shippable” due to its size and weight, as well as the fact that the prototype still has exposed circuit boards.

  • Half Dome 3 Since at least 2017, Meta has been working on Half Dome headsets to test a display type that can alter the distance from which the focus point of the headset’s optics is situated. If Half Dome’s technology works as advertised, users might build gigantic computer monitors within their headsets, according to Meta. The liquid crystal lenses in version 3 replace the mechanical components.
  • Holocake 2 This is Meta’s thinnest and lightest VR headset, and it can run any VR software if it’s connected to a PC, the company claims. However, it necessitates the use of specialized lasers that are prohibitively expensive and require additional safety precautions for the average person to utilize.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that in most virtual reality headsets, the lenses are thick and must be positioned a few inches from the display in order to concentrate and direct light directly into the wearer’s eyes. In addition to the lasers, Meta uses a flat, holographic lens in Holocake 2 to reduce bulk.

$10 Billion Metaverse Challenge

  • Starburst An experimental prototype called Starburst aims to produce high-dynamic-range displays that are brighter and show a wider range of colors. HDR, according to Meta, is the lone technology most closely associated with the adding of realism and depth to images.

In order to get closer to the visual realism required, Zuckerberg explained, “the purpose of all of our work is to identify which technical approaches will allow us to significantly advance.”

  • Mirror Lake For a ski-goggle-inspired headset, Meta showed up a concept design dubbed Mirror Lake. The goal of Mirror Lake is to bring together all of Meta’s various headgear technologies into one next-generation display.

Meta Reality Labs principal scientist Michael Abrash said, “The Mirror Lake concept is promising, but right now it is merely a concept with no fully functional headset yet constructed to convincingly test out the architecture.” Abrash remarked. It will be a game-changer for VR visuals if this works out.

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