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Eye-tracking accessories are ‘difficult’ according to Meta’s CTO

Eye-tracking accessories are ‘difficult’ according to Meta’s CTO

Could Meta Quest get eye and face tracking accessories one day? Meta’s CTO explains the technical hurdles.

The Meta Quest Pro has eye and face tracking sensors, while the Meta Quest 3 does not. For good reason: such a feature would have made a new mixed reality headset unaffordable for most consumers. The Quest 3 costs €550, while the Quest Pro costs more than double.

One way to provide eye and face tracking to cheaper headphones is in the form of an accessory. There are examples of this: HTC offers 3 eye and face tracking modules for its self-contained Vive Focus VR headset. Can’t the Meta offer a similar upgrade option?

This is what the head of technology at Meta says

In his latest Instagram Q&A, Meta’s CTO, Andrew Bosworth, commented on exactly that question. His answer literally:

“There’s no realistic way to do eye tracking or face tracking as an accessory. This is something we’ve thought about every now and then, because it would be nice to be able to offer that to people. For eye tracking, there would be one complete illumination of the eyes would be needed and we’re talking about replacing the stand Lens. You need cameras in different positions and in very tight, sensitive areas. This is very difficult.

It is theoretically possible to track the lower half of the face, but I’m not sure how useful it would be without tracking the upper half of the face and eyes. “We took all that into account, and it’s really difficult to do eye tracking outside of the base unit itself.”

Integrated eye tracking is coming…eventually

Even if the Meta finds an upgrade option that works well, the corresponding units will not fit the Meta’s goals. The company is committed to offering as many headphones as possible to the public and not providing specialized solutions for niche products.

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Furthermore, an optional-only technical feature will never get full support from the developer community, so apps will rarely use it. Therefore, the potential of the technology will not be exploited.

So it is likely that the Quest headphones will be released at some point Eye and face tracking support as standard. Because both features are essential for virtual reality and augmented reality. Bosworth recently announced that eye tracking will one day be part of the Quest platform’s core package. Once devices offer eye tracking, face tracking shouldn’t be far behind.