The new eye and facial movement sensor in Meta’s Quest Pro VR headset are supposed to improve the emotion and realism of virtual characters.
At the Meta Connect 2022 conference on October 11, Meta—the organization that owns Facebook and Instagram—announced its most recent virtual reality (VR) headset. In order to improve digital avatars, the corporation unveiled new capabilities, raising privacy issues around data collecting.
The Quest Pro is Meta’s most recent VR product, part of the company’s ongoing push into the Metaverse. It makes use of five cameras placed inside the headset that are used to observe and monitor facial expressions and eye movements. It also features five external cameras, which will be used in the future to track different physiological motions to replicate motions in the actual world.
The Quest Pro has been upgraded in an effort to improve the quality of digital avatars in the metaverse. They will, in real-time, precisely and uniquely represent a user’s emotions and facial expressions claims Meta.
This comes after a snapshot of Mark Zuckerberg’s less-than-realistic metaverse avatar that he uploaded over the summer caused significant online backlash (and jokes).
As designers and developers work to achieve realism in the digital world, identity in the Metaverse is a hot issue of discussion in the community.
Despite the new headset’s default off-setting for facial tracking, industry insiders predict that it won’t endure for very long. Regarding privacy ethics, Facebook has always grappled with how it uses and collects biometric data. Despite the fact that many businesses insist they do not sell these private details, numerous reports have recently come to light to the contrary.
After facing regulatory concerns, class action lawsuits, and government investigations in November of last year, Facebook stated it will remove data extraction from facial recognition of more than 1 billion individuals.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen expressed worries about how Meta would handle privacy and sensitive data in the Metaverse in an interview in April. Without more openness and responsibility, according to Haugen, it will “repeat all the ills you already see on Facebook.”
The dichotomy between what these businesses portray to the public and what they will do to gain money, she concluded, will always exist.
“At the end of the day, their business model revolves on taking your data and monetizing it.”
Twitter users’ opinions on the VR set are divided, with some marvelling at the cost while admiring the technology and others remaining pessimistic about their privacy. One player called virtual reality gaming “wonderful,” but demanded privacy rights be guaranteed:
It’s amazing playing Java Minecraft in VR. I disagree with you on this one Doc. The bigger issue is who controls the Metaverse, we don’t want Meta without at least guaranteed privacy restrictions once eye tracking becomes standard.
Although decentralised technologies like nonfungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain, and cryptocurrencies are becoming important to the growth of the metaverse, they might not be sufficient when dealing with large-scale technology.
Centralization begins to return as major tech firms like Meta dive headfirst into the Metaverse. According to a citation, Vitalik Buterin believes that Facebook’s metaverse will “misfire” since it is still too early to determine what users desire.
Meta, though, keeps moving forward. Along with the unveiling of Quest Pro, it also disclosed a collaboration with Microsoft to make Office 365 goods available in virtual reality.