Facebook execs tease VR prototype hardware with new photos

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Zuckerberg is looking to the future of the metaverse

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Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook virtual reality lead and soon-to-be CTO Andrew Bosworth (or “Boz”) are playing with prototype VR (or AR) technology and want to show it off. both officers have posted pictures of myself wearing a prototype headset and linking the concepts to Facebook’s work on the metaverse. While the headsets they both wear aren’t guaranteed to become actual retail products, it’s an interesting look at what’s happening in Facebook’s virtual reality lab.

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The headset Zuckerberg is wearing looks like the company’s Oculus headset. However, he identifies this as “retina resolution”, borrowing Apple’s phrase for screens with such high pixel densities that you can’t discern individual points at normal operating distances. The headset that Boz is wearing has a more intriguing design — it looks distinctly, almost exactly like the drawings and details of Apple’s rumored VR headset. Beyond Zuckerberg’s vague “retina” comment, there’s basically no detail as to what kind of headset they are, what they’re capable of, or even if they’re just non-functional design mock-ups.

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This is probably to be expected, given that this is not a product announcement from Facebook. While the company has released a pair of smart (and screen-less) Ray Bans, which it calls a step in the path “toward full augmented reality glasses,” Facebook’s virtual reality lab also teases several prototypes that might make it a reality. Will not make market. This includes things like its terrific eye-launching headset, research-focused Aria AR glasses, and a proof-of-concept set of VR glasses (which show you a virtual world instead of magnifying the real). Instead of hawking headsets, Boz and Zuckerberg are selling their Metaverse concept, which the company says is a virtual world that could be the next version of the Internet. If you really want to know what it means, check out my colleagues’ great explainer.

If you’re looking for a true next-generation headset, it might be worth keeping an eye on HTC’s recently leaked Vive Flow headset. Hilariously, one of HTC’s Vive executives responded to Boz, asking if he’d be willing to trade a prototype headset off the factory line for a hot one. Boz declined the offer.

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