Meta CEO, chairman, and controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg said face & eye tracking are a big focus for the next version of Quest.
In a wide ranging interview with Lex Fridman on his eponymous podcast, Zuckerberg revealed:
“There’s a whole part of your brain that’s just focused on reading facial cues. So when we’re designing the next version of Quest, or the VR headset, a big focus for us is face tracking and eye tracking so you can make eye contact, which isn’t really something that you can do over video conference.“
This echoes comments Zuckerberg made just under a year ago in an interview with The Information. In that interview he spoke of product teams working on “what Quest 3 and 4 are gonna look like”, hinting “one of the things I’m really excited about for future versions is getting eye tracking and face tracking in”.
Fridman’s interview covers a wide range of topics from identity in the metaverse to censorship and moderation on social media. It’s also one of the most frank discussions with Mark Zuckerberg we’ve seen yet. If you have the time, we’d suggest watching or listening to the entire interview.
Meta plans to release a high end headset codenamed Project Cambria some time this year, which will feature face and eye tracking. But when revealing Cambria back in October Zuckerberg started by saying “this isn’t the next Quest”, describing it instead as a “completely new advanced and high end product”. That seems to suggest Zuckerberg was referring to Quest 3 in his comments to Fridman, not Cambria.
Zuckerberg went on to say Meta will prioritize eye and face tracking even over making headsets as thin and light as possible:
“So when I think about Meta’s contribution to this field, I have to say, it’s not clear to me that any of the other companies that are focused on the metaverse or on virtual and augmented reality are going to prioritize putting these features in the hardware, because like everything there are trade offs, right? I mean it adds some weight to the device. Maybe it adds some thickness.
You could totally see another company taking the approach of let’s just make the lightest and thinnest thing possible. But I want us to design the most human thing possible that creates the richest sense of presence, because so much of human emotion and expression comes from these micromovements.“
While Zuckerberg’s comments certainly seem to suggest Quest 3 will have face and eye tracking, there’s no indication Quest 3 is actually launching any time soon. Just two months ago Meta Quest Consulting CTO John Carmack said “Quest 2 will have a long life” and Meta’s hardware focus this year seems to be Cambria.