Meta Quest Pro’s eye tracking could do more than previously thought.
Text has been discovered in the Meta Quest 2 beta firmware that explains the eye tracking capabilities. VR leaker Brad Lynch published the description on Twitter.
“Eye tracking is a feature of your Meta Quest Pro headset (also known as a Meta Quest Pro device) that uses cameras to estimate the direction your eyes are facing. This feature is used to make your avatar’s eye contact and facial expressions look more natural during your virtual interactions with other users and to improve image quality in the area you’re looking at in VR.
It goes on to say that eye tracking can also be used as an input method for interacting with virtual content. According to the description, eye tracking is not used to identify users. It will be possible to turn eye tracking on and off in settings for individual VR apps or overall.
Foveated rendering: a powerful rendering technique
While the other features of the eye tracking (eye contact, input method) are confirmed or taken for granted, the image improvement mentioned in the text makes us sit up and take notice.
Could this mean that Quest Pro is supported foveated rendering? With this rendering technique, eye tracking is used to determine which area of the image the eye is currently focusing on and only this area is calculated in all details. This saves a lot of computing power, which the developers could invest in a higher resolution or better graphics.
Added explanations for Quest Pro eye tracking features in the latest firmware from PTC pic.twitter.com/motF1B3jh6
— Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) 09/30/2022
The Playstation VR 2’s gaze tracking also supports foveated rendering, and according to the first press reports, with great benefit: The image appears exceptionally sharp without the reduced graphics being noticeable in the viewing periphery. A GDC presentation stated that the Playstation 5 can render 3D graphics up to 3.6 times faster with activated foveated rendering – a huge performance gain.
How exactly the above rendering works in Sony’s VR headset is not yet known. This will be clarified in more extensive testing in the spring when PSVR 2 finally releases.
Does Meta Quest Pro support foveated rendering?
Meta’s description doesn’t necessarily suggest focused rendering for Meta Quest Pro, especially since Meta’s chief technology officer, Andrew Bosworth, said almost a year ago that the rendering technology “isn’t yet delivering that much performance” for standalone headsets.
However, the headset could also benefit from eye tracking in other ways: for example, by displaying the focused areas in certain VR apps with a higher resolution or by applying algorithms against image distortion. Both could result in better image quality.
In any case, the description gives hope that Meta Quest Pro still has one or two surprises in store despite numerous leaks. The headset will be unveiled on October 11th and will go on sale later that month.
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