The company formerly known as Facebook started teasing a new high-end virtual reality (VR) headset in late 2021. It’s called Project Cambria and is touted as a quasi “Quest Pro” type of device. Until now, details about the headphones have been restricted to vague sneak peeks and generalities about their capabilities. However, more information has now come to light, courtesy of Mr. Zuckerberg himself. In a video posted on Facebook (where else?), he is shown wearing the headphones for the first time. The video offers a brief glimpse of the Cambria’s potential, but unfortunately the headset itself is blurry.
the video (Facebook link) is less than a minute long and shows Zuckerberg using the headset for mixed reality activities. This is markedly different from augmented reality (AR), as AR does not typically allow interaction with digital assets. Mixed reality is made possible by Cambria’s full-color video pass-through, allowing you to display the environment you’re in with digital overlays. This is what really separates the Cambria from the Quest 2, which only offers black and white transfer. Previously Zuckerberg said Cambria will focus more on work activities rather than wasting time, but the video shows a combination of both.
Once Zuckerberg puts on the fuzzy headphones, he begins to interact with a gremlin on the ground. The video skips a lot, so it’s not entirely clear what he’s doing. However, it appears that he is throwing a ball across the room and his furry sidekick is chasing after it. Zuckerberg also reaches down to pet the gremlin, but doesn’t seem to react to his attempted affection (jokes really write themselves sometimes). He can also be seen changing the color of the room’s walls. He says this mixed reality demo is an experience called The World Beyond. He uses a Meta Presence Platform for mixed reality, which ad last year. The full color transfer version will only be available in Cambria, but Meta will also release a version for Quest 2 soon.
The video also highlights some real-world scenarios that seem more geared towards Meta’s future plans. For example, it shows you interacting with digital versions of Facebook Messenger that float above your real-world desktop. It also includes footage of a virtual yoga instructor leading you through a workout. We’re not sure we’d want to do yoga with a headset on, but there’s clearly potential there. He concludes 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 impending cuts to Reuters for its Reality Labs division, which has become a money pit. In its fourth quarter 2021 earnings report, Meta stated that Reality Labs had burned $10 billion in 2021. In its first quarter 2021 earnings report from just a few weeks ago, it also reported a rent freeze in the midst of a “mass exodus”. Zuckerberg says Project Cambria will launch this year, but we don’t know its specs or pricing yet.