Why is there no eye tracking in Quest 3? This is what Meta’s CTO says


Why is there no eye tracking in Quest 3? This is what Meta's CTO says

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Eye tracking is a key VR technology and is built into Quest Pro. Why is it missing from Quest 3? Meta’s CTO explains.

Eye tracking enables more realistic avatars, higher performance through foveated rendering, and new input capabilities. Apple Vision Pro has four built-in eye tracking cameras and takes advantage of it in all of these use cases.

Meta integrated eye tracking into Quest Pro back in 2022, but the newer Quest 3 was left empty-handed. Why, if the technology is so important? In his latest Instagram AMA, Meta’s CTO, Andrew Bosworth, cites three reasons:

“If you look at Quest Pro, certainly there’s some raw cost to it and some weight to it in terms of just the extra cameras, the lights that glint off of the eyeballs that you can actually track the direction of the pupil and so on and so forth. But the system cost is also big. Then you have this extra compute that’s running, you have this extra processing that’s happening.”

He later adds: “Calculating the foveated rendering is actually itself not cheap. And you have to make sure that the savings you get is big enough to offset the calculations.”

What Bosworth doesn’t mention is that the Quest 3’s chipset is much more powerful than the one in the Quest Pro. So theoretically, performance should be less of an issue with the Quest 3 than it is with the Quest Pro.

Eye tracking with pancake lenses is a challenge

Bosworth goes on to say that eye-tracking with pancake lenses presents a whole new set of challenges.

“It’s worth noting is that doing it through our current lenses, our pancake optics, presents additional challenges relative to the more conventional optics that we’ve had before. Apple solved this by going through the lens, but that’s why they have to have inserts, and they don’t support glasses, and it doesn’t work for all prescription types. So there are lot of trade-offs in this space.”

Meta, however, believes in eye-tracking long-term: “It’s one of those things that we’re definitely going to continue to push on and come back to,” says Bosworth, who said in October that eye-tracking would eventually become “part of the base package” of every Quest headset.

Zuckerberg also recently said that Meta would bring back eye-tracking, but did not say for which VR headset.

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