Zuckerberg wheedles VR prototypes

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June 21, 2022 04:08 pm | Updated 04:10 pm IST

On Monday, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg shared a short video showing Virtual Reality (VR) headset prototypes. At least two looked like cameras professional film-makers use to shoot movies. I don’t mean in terms of technical sophistication, but the overall clunky look. The prototypes look so heavy, I wonder whether people would pick one and wear it like a helmet to play games and meet people.

He briefly spoke about challenges in building a VR headset that required addressing retinal projection, depth perception and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging. And then moved on to say that Facebook, now renamed as Meta, will ‘soon’ roll out a VR headset capable of projecting holographic images.

‘Soon’ is actually a long time given what is happening in the world of mixed reality. Some experts point out that industry is like what Nokia’s communicator was to the iPhone era. The nascent industry needs more than marketing to make the gadget sticky like what smartphones did a decade ago.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s company is not alone in building VR gadgets, Microsoft, Google, HTC and Samsung are all busy making hardware and developing software for digital avatars of real people to interact and socialise.

But the new-age industry is grappling with old world problems like employee poaching, sexual assault allegations against a top scientist, and government contracts. Microsoft has been bleeding talent in its mixed reality division. Most of the engineers are switching to Facebook. Perhaps, the move in talent could benefit Zuckerberg in the short term as Meta dabbles with VR headsets.

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