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Biggest announcements from Facebook Connect 2020

September 21, 2020

Here at XR Terra, we were really looking forward to the Facebook Connect 2020, and we were not disappointed! Facebook announced a number of products and initiatives that are going to shake up the VR consumer market. These give our AR VR developer and AR VR visual design students bigger and better options for creating XR applications for enterprise and the masses.

To be fair, we probably missed a few cool things during the live session, but here is what really stood out to us:

1. Facebook is jumping into the AR Glasses Game with Project ARIA

  • Prototypes will be experimented with by Facebook’s research team right away to explore ethical and technical questions around AR Glasses
  • May be available to the public as soon as next year
  • Are designed to help you focus on sound, (i.e., having a conversation with someone in a loud room)
  • You can read more in depth about these here at Engadget

2. It is Clear that Facebook sees the Quest as a Big Deal (Zuckerberg referred to it as “The Quest Platform”)

All the previously leaked specs were confirmed at the Facebook Connect event:

  • 6 GB Ram
  • XR2 Chip Set (Leapfrogging the Quest Gen 1 Snapdragon 835)
  • 50% better screen resolution (with LCD Panel)
  • Smaller, lighter, more comfortable Headset and controllers
  • Smarter and Stronger Haptic feedback from controllers
  • More comfortable head-straps as well as the option to buy an “elite” comfort strap, even one that holds an extra battery pack.

Other Details:

  • The shipping date of October 13th
  • The confirmed price point of $299
  • Pre-orders are open as of September 16th
  • This Fall, Oculus Link is coming out of Beta, and, in the future, with the Quest 2, will support up to 90hz refresh rates.
  • For a more in-depth look, check out this article by The Verge.

3. As part of a number of improvements to Facebook’s Future of Work/ Facebook Business Initiatives, there will be a new keyboard from Logitech that will enable you to type in VR while being able to see the keys in VR perfectly

4. An ‘EMG bracelet’ for finger tracking and ‘Beamforming’ for sound focus are two other projects from Facebook Reality Labs research that Look Promising

  • The EMG Bracelet accurately maps the movement of your hands and uses them to move your fingers in VR.
  • Beamforming is a technology that helps users focus-in-on the sound they want to hear (this is through their speakers in the AR glasses, Project ARIA, mentioned earlier.)

5. New Avatars are coming to the Oculus Platform

While not the most exciting, we have seen that better avatars do help users feel a better sense of presence in social VR experiences.

6. New Tools for Developers including a new Developer Hub (Coming Soon), Hand Tracking and Body Tracking API, Performance Tools, Vulcan Support, and More

7. The Quest 2 plus Oculus Link will be even more capable than Rift

  • In fact, Rift S will stop selling next year.
  • The Quest 2 will be the focus for Facebook’s take on PC VR

That’s all for now! We are still absorbing all this information. Sad you missed the event? Want more details? Check out Facebook Connect 2020 In 10 Minutes

Want to watch the whole thing? Facebook Reality Labs will have the videos available on their Facebook Reality Labs page after the event is over.

We can’t wait to learn more about all these new resources for our students and to start digging in making games with the Quest 2. We will write about it more here soon. But, In the meantime, stay tuned to the XR Terra blog for our next article coming up on setting up for development on the Quest and the Quest 2.

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