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Meta Reveals Weird And Wacky VR Prototypes

Meta has unveiled two dozen VR and AR headset prototypes that the company say will never be available for purchase.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, alongside members of the company’s Reality Labs division showed off what they had been working on at a virtual roundtable last week. The collection consisted of several devices that looked like they belonged from back to the future, with exposed circuit boards, heavy cooling fans and large handles to take the weight off your neck.

The Meta ‘Starburst’
Credit: Meta

However, these “time machines” as Meta calls them, are not intended to be sold, but have been built as a proof of concept to test specific features.

“I think we’re in the middle right now of a big step forward towards realism,” said Zuckerberg.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that long until we can create scenes with basically perfect fidelity.”

The heavy-duty headset with the handles described above has been codenamed ‘Starburst’, and it contains a display that is able to reach 20,000 nits of brightness, which will improve High Dynamic Range (HDR) dramatically. The Quest 2, the company’s current VR headset, for example, peaks at around 100 nits.

While this is a major step towards more realistic VR, the Starburst is hardly practical. However, as Zuckerberg reiterates, the prototypes are tools to assist in identifying “which technical paths are going to allow us to make meaningful enough improvements that we can start approaching visual realism.”

The heavy investment in VR technology from the company is part of Meta’s major push for the Metaverse and the future of work.

The Meta ‘Butterscotch’
Credit: Meta

Other headsets included the ‘Holocake 2’ which was designed to make VR headsets lighter and the ‘Butterscotch’ which is an attempt at a near-retina-quality display.

Meta still plans to release the Project Cambria headset, which will hopefully make an appearance later this year, as well as the Meta Quest 3.

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