Meta 2 is Trying To Push HoloLens Out Of The Park

The whole HoloLens story is getting heated up. Microsoft’s answer to VR is shaping up to be a serious competitor even though HoloLens is something completely different, and with its $3000 price for a developer edition, it seems that AR is just not ready for mass market. But HoloLens is not the only one AR solution out there, Meta 2 AR kit is trying to fight its way to the market with lower price and excellent user experience.

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Meta 2 is a second generation of Meta AR kit, the first was showed back in 2013, it had a direct competition in Google Glass project (which ended up being one of those niche products that simply couldn’t be seen as something that every person would wear) and it served as somewhat of a beta (or better to say alpha) test in order to refine the technology and offer the public something more polished.

And now we got the result of those years of research and development in the form of Meta 2, company’s new take on the augmented reality. The world is different than it was two years ago when the first edition of Meta AR kit saw the light of day. VR simply exploded and AR got HoloLens. And like all Microsoft’s products, HoloLens became a big conversation topic in tech circles. But Meta 2 could change that because it is offering something that looks and feels better, but at the same time cost far less than HoloLens.

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Image courtesy of Meta

Developer edition of Meta 2 is costing $949, still just a three figure price. For that, you’ll get AR kit that’s lighter and easier to wear, that has a fantastic display and large field of view (FOW), but that isn’t completely independent and can work on its own. Meta 1 was connected to PC via cable because it needed PC to do all the computing part. Meta 2 went the same way; you need to connect it to PC in order to use it. The guys from Meta claim that they made it that way because of the cost and mobility. Meta 2 is lighter than HoloLens, making you much more comfortable while wearing it. Other great Meta 2’s feature is a beautiful and sharp 1,440p display, making projected image crisp and filled with details. The display is actually placed on the top of the head part, projecting the image on the plastic shield that serves as a projecting medium, making the image look like it’s floating in front of you.

But the wide field of view is the best thing about Meta 2. AR kit has a 90 degree FOW, much higher than the first generation had (around 35 degrees), making you immerse in AR world without any complaints. Lots of sensors paired with a 720p webcam on the front will track your position and the position of your hands making interaction with AR objects easy and fun. You don’t need to learn complex movements, or to move your hands in just the right way, you can just put them around the projected object and move it naturally, like you would moving a real life counterpart. This isn’t working always as it should but it shows the way AR should follow in the future, no learning, no tutorial, just put the kit on your head and start using it. Meta is calling this The Neural Path of Least Resistance, and the name pretty good explains what they are trying to accomplish.

Meta 2 has flaws, it must be connected to a PC at all times, it’s still exclusively oriented toward developers and the AR market is still in its infant years. But people at Meta know this, and they plan to release a new generation of AR kit in the future that will be independent, without cables and ready to go everywhere with you. But technology still isn’t on the level needed for that to happen. But for its price, Meta 2 AR kit is offering a great entry ticket for everyone wanting to build the world of tomorrow, because the world of tomorrow will probably be seen through the AR lens.

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