Stepping Up in Virtual Reality: Meta Tests Full Avatar Legs in VR Experience
30 Aug. 2023
In the realm of virtual reality, every minute detail carries importance to deliver a fully immersive experience. Enter Meta (formerly Facebook), adding yet another milestone in its VR ecosystem by introducing an essential, albeit overlooked, feature - avatar legs. This new addition is currently in public testing for the Quest v57. The initiative aims to get rid of the torso-only avatars floating in digital space, which have been distracting to many VR enthusiasts.
The detailed recreation of human legs in VR isn't a walk in the park. The existing VR headsets from Meta lack sensors to track the movement of the user's legs, creating a significant technological challenge. Undeterred, Meta has applied its collective brain and tech resources to address this. Enter QuestSim, Meta's novel solution that leverages the power of AI to simulate leg movement.
QuestSim isn't a typical mechanical solution. Rather, it applies its AI capabilities ingeniously. It estimates leg actions based on the activity pattern of the arms and head, pieces of the human body it can accurately track. So, even without actual sensors, your digital legs would move based on what your upper body does, making your VR involvement more grounded.
The initiative isn't solely focused on avatar aesthetics. It's a strategic step towards bridging Meta's Horizon Worlds with mobile devices. With the shift towards mobility, the in-app avatars ought to have legs. By enabling mobile users to access Horizon Worlds, Meta is poised to draw larger audiences into their social space, specifically gamers. The addition would provide an intuitive onboarding gateway to the metaverse ecosystem Meta is striving to build.
In summary, the introduction of digitally rendered legs seems arguably trivial, but it carries significant ramifications for the overall VR experience. It is a key to pushing the boundaries of realism in VR and expanding its user base. While the VR avatar legs still only appear in a third-person perspective and are in the early testing phase, it's clear that Meta's relentless innovative strides continue, shaping the VR world one step at a time.