Meta Teases The ‘Next Generation’ Of Augmented Reality

by Will Mason • February 15th, 2016

With all the future talk at this year’s TED Conference in Vancouver it’s no wonder VR and AR are going to be featured prominently at the show. With The VOID making waves on the VR front, one of the companies looking to make a big splash for AR is Meta. The company appears set to reveal their latest prototype AR glasses on stage.

Robert Scoble, a renowned technology evangelist who has seen thousands of demos in his career, took to Facebook to decompress after seeing Meta’s new glasses calling them, “the most interesting product demo that [he’s] had in [his] life.” And he is not alone, Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s co-founder, loved it so much he became an investor saying,  “there’s this idea of what we think the future should look like … and this was the first time I put something on and felt I was living in that future.”

“This opens up a whole new playing field for creative folks in music, film, [and] storytelling,” added techie and Black Eyed Pea, Will.I.Am. “It is the best augmented reality heads up display that I’ve experienced.”

This new prototype won’t be Meta’s first. The company previously released a Kickstarted AR HMD developer kit, the Meta One, a 90’s cyberpunk style pair of glasses with an Intel Realsense camera on top. In our previous tests with the Meta One we found it to have a number of issues from weight balance to tracking and display, speaking with sources these things have all been heavily improved upon with the latest prototype. “The truth is,” says an anonymous source close to the company, “you can’t even compare the Meta Two to the Meta One they are different on every level.”

Meta's previous AR development kit the Meta One.

Meta’s previous AR development kit the Meta One.

The AR space is beginning to heat up and perhaps faster than some were expecting. Many analysts have predicted that AR will ultimately be a larger market than VR, but that it is likely a few years away from even hitting consumers because of the number of engineering problems that still need to be solved like cost, form factor (it has to look as cool as the stuff it does), and precise computer vision for tracking and other applications. Still, the market around AR is heating up with Magic Leap’s recent massive $794 million raise, Microsoft announcing a developer kit for the Hololens, and recent acquisitions by Apple.

One should take Meta’s video with a grain of salt, it did come from the company itself after all, but if the demo has people this excited going in then Wednesday should be interesting to say the least.

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