Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse will finally have legs

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his company will be taking a major step towards making its VR metaverses more realistic: giving them legs.

Ever since Zuckerberg unveiled his grandiose ambitions for the metaverse almost a year ago, betting his company’s future on the idea that the next era of the internet would depend on virtual and augmented reality, a lot of criticized the tech giant’s plans unrealand ridiculed the fact that 3D digital avatars that mimic our bodies are currently devoid of lower limbs.

Zuckerberg himself was ridiculed online when he enthusiastically shared a screenshot of his avatar on your Facebook page in August.

Shortly thereafter, Zuckerberg “big graphic updates” promised is getting closer to Meta Avatars, and it unveiled the update at its annual Meta Connect developer event on Tuesday when it announced that feet are getting closer to the metaverse.

I know you were waiting for this. Everyone was waiting for this, ”Zuckerberg’s visually enhanced avatar said at the presentation on Tuesday. “But seriously, the legs are solid, which is why they don’t exist in other VR systems either.”

The fact that Zuckerberg is now prioritizing feet in the metaverse shows just how much public perception of the metaverse matters, and that the biggest challenge to the Meta’s success may be solving the technology’s seemingly simple (though technically complex) visual problems. The meta must show that it is connected to reality, even if it creates an alternate universe. This is an especially important moment for the company to get the people of the metaverse interested, as the tech giant’s shares have been plummeting over the past year and many of his employees reportedly were I doubt the company’s main bets on AR / VR.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg displays a demonstration of yet-to-be-released footed avatars in the metaverse.

The reason Meta has found it so difficult to recreate our feet in the metaverse is because currently its AR/VR headsets only track upper body movements such as our hands and facial gestures. So the company currently has no way of knowing what our feet are doing when we put on one of its headsets.

To be clear, the avatars in Meta’s AR/VR products today, including the new high-end Quest Pro headset it just released, still don’t have legs. The company says it’s first bringing legs to its social environment, Horizon Worlds, and then expanding to other products. But it’s unclear exactly when those legs will appear. And it remains a serious technical problem that needs to be solved.

Zuckerberg said that Meta will use predictive AI models to guess what our feet are doing based on upper body movements. No other popular manufacturer of augmented and virtual reality equipment has yet been able to do this. But it’s entirely possible for Meta, a company with one of the largest engineering staffs in the world that spends $10 billion a year just on metaverse projects.

“With standalone VR headsets, understanding your leg position is surprisingly difficult due to occlusion,” Zuckerberg explained of the technical issue in the presentation. “So if your feet are under the table or if your hands are blocking your view of them, your headset cannot see them directly, and you need to build an AI model to predict the position of your entire body.”

Meta says that not only do they enhance the avatars by adding legs, but they also enhance the visual graphics in a broader sense. The company said on Tuesday that its new high-end Quest Pro headset features inward-facing head sensors that track eye movements and facial expressions, allowing more realistic expressions to be displayed on avatars. The rep also said the company is adding “gradual updates to the style and look of the meta avatars” over time, including expressions as well as “depth”, “shading”, and additional clothing and accessory options.

To be fair, some critics of Meta’s AR/VR products are still not happy about what’s lost when moving from the virtual world to the physical one. The Meta experience in AR/VR feels more realistic and immersive when you put on a headset and immerse yourself in a 3D AR/VR world than when you look at a 2D screenshot of that environment on a computer screen.

A clothing store for an avatar in the Metaverse.

It’s still important that Zuckerberg and his team figure out how to fix the avatar’s leg problem – and how to improve avatar graphics in general – quickly. Recent reportage from The Verge as well as New York Times suggests that Meta is struggling to get its employees to spend time as avatars in their VR/AR Horizon Worlds social environment. And while on October 11, Meta announced a key partnership with another tech giant and rival Microsoft in virtual and augmented reality hardware to bring its popular software such as Office 365 to the Meta Quest Pro device, major Meta competition from Apple looms on the horizon, which rumored to be working on his own headset.

If the Meta can’t figure out something as simple as legs and convince the public that the metaverse is worth diving into, the company’s future could be in jeopardy. That’s why it’s smart that Zuckerberg gave in to the trolls today and promised to give people what they want, no matter how technically difficult it might be.

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