Mark Zuckerberg just showed off Meta’s next mixed-reality gadget

The "Project Cambria" device will allow for full-color passthrough tech. Here's what that all means.
"Project Cambria" refers to a new VR headset coming from Meta. Meta

Mark Zuckerberg teased Meta’s next venture into mixed reality on Thursday, posting a video on Facebook of his experience demoing a fancy new headset with the codename “Project Cambria.” While the headset itself is heavily pixelated to obscure what it looks like, the video gives a glimpse at an experience displaying virtual elements with the real world as a backdrop. For example, Zuckerberg crouches down at one point to “pet” a colorful cartoon animal and bounces a virtual ball off of a real-life wall. It’s all a form of mixed- or augmented-reality, as demoed with the forthcoming VR headset.

According to Zuckerberg’s post, this stunt, in which he plays around in a demo called “The World Beyond,” was created with the Presence Platform, which the company first unveiled during the 2021 Facebook Connect conference. 

While the teased Project Cambria device is not yet available, the Meta CEO says it will come out “later this year.” (Protocol has more about the device, and how the passthrough technology works with both the Quest 2 and Project Cambria; “passthrough” refers to the process of beaming real-world scenes into the headset.) Only the Project Cambria device will offer a full-color version of passthrough, though, with the current mixed-reality passthrough experience on the Quest 2 devices taking place in grayscale. 

Zuckerberg says in the post that “The World Beyond” demo will be made available on the App Lab “soon.” At the end of the short video, Zuckerberg makes a broader push for the Metaverse, which has become a key focus for the company’s future. 

“This is just the beginning for mixed reality,” he says, before demoing how it could be used for fitness, showing exercises guided by a VR instructor, or work, giving employees the ability to open up virtual desktop screens “anywhere you go.” Zuckerberg told Protocol he believes VR headsets could ultimately replace the use of laptops or other computer workstations as “the main devices we work with every day.”

Since rebranding to Meta last year, a nod to its new “metaverse first” mission to go all-in on building up an interactive virtual world, the company has previewed a number of gadgets to create that mixed-reality experience. That includes developing “touch sensors” in hopes of recreating that real-life sensation when you interact with virtual objects and gloves that allow for the impression of human interaction. 

Watch a video more about Project Cambria and the Presence Platform, below.