New VR and AR Opportunities with the Meta Quest Pro
The Meta Quest Pro's new features create new opportunities for innovative design and use cases.
10 min read
Cover Image Credit: Meta
Full-colour pass through, premium optics, a balanced design, new touch controllers, and adjustable levels of peripheral vision (allowing the user to remain grounded in the real world) create new opportunities for innovative design and use cases.
Meta (formerly FaceBook) unveiled their latest headset in October 2022, with a plethora of new hardware and software features that go a step beyond those of their wildly popular Meta Quest 2. While some consumer groups may find the VR head mounted display's (HMD) price tag of over $2,000CAD hard to justify, we think there is immense value to be found in key commercial demographics.
Let's breakdown the top 5 features of the Meta Quest Pro that we at Viscape 360 are most excited for, and how they will change how we design, build, and deploy interactive experiences for our clients:
1. Full-colour Pass Through Cameras
Meta's new Quest Pro features a full-colour passthrough mode that is made possible by cameras on the front of the unit. This gives extended reality (XR) developers like Viscape 360 the ability to overlay computer generated graphics and interactive elements over the real world that the user is present in, which is known as Augmented Reality or AR. As Will Greenwald published in PCMag, "Whereas virtual reality replaces your vision, augmented reality adds to it" (read their full breakdown of VR vs AR here).
Having a single mixed reality headset is a new shift within the market, and opens the door to making not only VR and AR projects separately, but applications that harness the top benefits of each in a single project.
2. Premium Optical Clarity
The goal with VR in general, and especially for our clients, is to make the user feel like they're in another place (bringing your resort, museum, or other business right into their living room). It's this decreased barrier between your establishment and your addressable market that makes immersive marketing products so appealing - for businesses that feel 'if only people stepped in the door, they would immediately be taken by how great our offering is', high quality virtual tours are one of the best investments out there.
Effectively creating this feeling of being somewhere else hinges on a few key elements - the quality of the images captured of the space (we're leaders in our industry going beyond 20k resolution images), how you engage the other senses (audio integration - both ambient and narrative - and other embedded media is a cornerstone of our projects), and how the viewer views the experience. While all of our VR projects can be viewed on any internet connected device - including mobile, desktop, tablet, and VR headset - the most impactful form in many cases is VR.
The Meta Quest Pro achieves 75% greater contrast and 37% greater pixel density than its predecessor, making it one of the highest quality VR headsets on the market. While it is unlikely that swaths of consumers will purchase the device given it's price, businesses can purchase one (or rent from us) to bring with them to trade shows, client meetings, and other scenarios in which they are engaging stakeholders or leads. Having a super high quality virtual twin of your business that you can bring with you anywhere is an obvious and fruitful investment for innovative companies.
3. Balanced Weight
Many past generations of VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, Meta Quest 2, and Pico 3 shared a less than ideal design characteristic: they were very front heavy, with the majority of hardware components placed at the front of the user's head and a series of straps that hold it on. This uneven weight distribution can cause headsets to feel heavier than they are, and cause user discomfort during extended periods of use.
With a 40% thinner optical unit thanks to the Quest Pro's use of 'pancake lenses' and many components (such as the battery) positioned on the back of the user's head, the balance point for this latest headset falls right along the centre line - a perfect position to increase comfort and distribute weight in a more natural way.
Will this change how we design our projects? Not necessarily, but anything that makes the overall user experience better for the end user is a huge plus.
4. All New Touch Controllers
The new touch controllers enhance the experience with haptic feedback that simulates real world feedback by pulsing different areas of the hand. In addition to these additional haptic touch points, the controllers are outfitted with onboard cameras that improve user input in the VR or AR space.
In the past, the position of each controller in space was determined by camera on board the headset. This meant that bringing your hand too close to your body, somewhere it is obstructed by an object, or behind your back caused them to lose tracking and stop providing input in the simulation you are interacting with.
Improved hand input means that the user experience with existing applications will be improved, as well as that new applications can be designed that include more complex arm/hand movements or actions that would not perviously be possible.
5. Adjustable Peripheral Vision (unblocked, partial light blockers, full light blocker)
This comes with 2 main advantages:
- Less of the headset (especially he nose, mouth, and face area) comes into physical contact with the user.
- The user is able to maintain a peripheral view of the outside world, making the experience less disorienting for someone who has little to no experience with VR.
These 2 benefits are HUGE for us and our clients, and make VR an even more compelling option for our #1 industry: trade shows.
The top priority when designing a virtual experience for use on a trade show's floor is creating a positive, memorable, and frictionless interaction between the program and the attendee. The Meta Quest Pro's positioning off of the users face, and peripheral vision that can be maintained with the outside world, are great for making them feel more comfortable with the whole thing. On a sensory level the experience is less disorienting and less likely to induce nausea, and from a psychological level the user may feel less enclosed as well as less concerned about transmission of COVID-19 (as there is no contact with the nose or mouth).
Meta's 2022 headset - the Quest Pro - has us excited for the future of VR hardware (now we just have to wait for ours to arrive in Vancouver!), but it's important to remember that hardware can only get you so far. While businesses do have control over which devices they choose to procure, it's their custom software and content that they have total authority over; and that's where Viscape 360 comes in.
We constantly strive to create the highest quality, most customizable offerings for businesses on the AR and VR market. Want an amazing virtual tour that combines high quality 360 photos, videos, spatial audio, and drone imagery? Let us shoot it for you. Have an idea for a VR or AR app that will change how you do business, either externally with clients or internally with employees? Let us build it with you.
We're excited to see the immersive hardware and software industries continue to progress in the months and years to come, making interactive digital media more present and important in the everyday lives of consumers and businesses alike. And when you're ready to take the plunge and add extended reality elements to your business' offering or processes, we'd be honoured to help you bring your ideas to life.