Could Meta Quest one day get eye and face tracking accessories? Meta’s CTO talks about the technical hurdles.
Meta Quest Pro supports eye and face tracking, while Meta Quest 3 does not. For good reason: such a feature would have put the new mixed-reality headset out of reach for most consumers. The Quest 3 costs $499, while the Quest Pro is twice as expensive.
One way to provide eye and face tracking for more affordable headsets would be as an accessory. There are examples of this: HTC offers eye and face tracking modules for its standalone Vive Focus 3 headset. Could Meta some day offer a similar upgrade option?
This is what Meta’s CTO says
In his latest Q&A on Instagram, Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth commented on this very question. His answer in full:
“There’s not really a credible way to do eye tracking or upper face tracking underneath the headset as an accessory. It’s something that we’ve thought about every now and then because it would be nice to be able to enable that for people. For Eye tracking, you need to have this illumination all the way around the eyes, you’re talking about replacing the eye cups. You need to have cameras in multiple positions, which are in kind of quite tight and sensitive areas. That’s pretty tough.
Lower face tracking is possible, I think, theoretically, but I’m not sure how useful it is without upper face tracking and eye tracking. So this is something we’ve looked at, and it’s really tough with eye tracking to do it outside of the core module itself.”
Integrated eye tracking will come … at some point
Even if Meta were to find an upgrade option that worked well, it is unlikely that such modules would fit Meta’s ultimate goals. The company is committed to bringing as many headsets to the masses as possible, not providing niche solutions for niche products.
In addition, a purely optional technical feature would never receive the full support of the developer community and would rarely be used by applications. The potential of the technology would be wasted.
It is more likely that eye and face tracking will become a standard feature for Quest headsets at some point. After all, both can be considered essential for VR and AR. Bosworth recently said that eye tracking would one day be part of the base package of every Quest headset. And you can guess that once the devices offer eye tracking, face tracking won’t be far behind.
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