Meta has begun taking pre-orders at www.metavision.com for Meta 2 Development Kit, the first augmented reality (AR) product that delivers a totally immersive experience unlike any other AR product to date. Meta 2 enables hand interaction with digital content, a breakthrough in the field of AR, so people can touch, grab, and move digital objects intuitively, just as they do in the real world.
Meta CEO Meron Gribetz demonstrated the technology at TED 2016, with Meta 2 Development Kit being hailed as one of the most significant technology announcements in recent years. Technology pundit and futurist Robert Scoble called Meta 2 “the most important new product since the original Macintosh.”
In his TED Talk, Gribetz painted his vision for The Neural Path of Least Resistance™, a neuroscience-based interface design approach for zero-learning-curve computing, saying, “We are creating an experience that merges the art of user interface design with the science of the brain, creating ‘natural machines’ that feel like extensions of ourselves rather than the other way around. For example, our natural hand motion doesn’t rely on clicks or buttons, thereby maintaining the flow and connecting people to each other and the moment.”
Meta is working closely with developers to create Meta 2 applications that have the potential to fundamentally change the way people collaborate, communicate and engage with information and each other. Developers are also creating compelling market-specific applications for Meta across a range of industries, including medicine, education, and manufacturing. Meta 2 Development Kit is the company’s second-generation AR technology and was designed with input from nearly 1000 companies that were users of the first-generation Meta 1 product including developers, early adopters, and academics.
Meta 2 offers numerous capabilities only available with the Meta platform, including the widest field of view, the most intuitive access to digital information, and support for direct hand interaction with digital content and holograms. For interested developers, pre-orders are being taken on the Meta website at metavision.com, and include a see-through headset that displays digital content or holograms, along with a software development kit. The Meta 2 Development Kit is priced at $949 for pre-orders at launch and is slated to ship in Q3 2016.
Meta 2 Advantages
Meta 2 Development Kit includes features only available from Meta and was developed to deliver three key advantages:
Widest Field of View
A large FOV liberates users from the confines of screen size, making it easier to work, collaborate, and create or design. Meta 2 has the largest Field of View (FOV) of any product on the market, making it the most immersive AR experience available today.
- Visual field of view of 90 degrees (diagonal)
- High-definition display (2560 x 1440) allowing for high resolution image (20 pixels per degree)
The FOV of most competitive systems is significantly smaller than Meta’s FOV, which hampers the user experience.
Intuitive Access to Digital Information
You are the operating system is a guiding principle of Meta 2, meaning the system has been developed to work in the most intuitive way for the brain. While allowing people to use the traditional means of interacting with technology through keyboards and other devices, Meta 2 enables people to easily access, manipulate, and share digital information in ways that are natural and enhance productivity and collaboration. Examples of AR applications built on interfaces designed to work like the human brain include:
- 3D modeling: Create, interact with and share true 3D models, providing significant advantages over 3D on a screen.
- Web browsing: With simple markup, add holograms to any existing webpage, which would allow such scenarios as allowing consumers to “grab” products from a web page and interact with them.
- Remote collaboration: Colleagues can view and manipulate holograms together with their hands.
Direct Hand Interaction
From infancy, hands are the tools people use to engage with their environments. Meta 2 is hand-controlled because there is no more natural way for someone to work or engage with others. No input device is required. On-board cameras for hand interactions and positional tracking make it possible to see digital content, grab it, and move it by hand just as you would with any physical object. You can also track objects, such as a pen or paint brush. By using natural hand interaction, Meta overcomes the limits of many other AR products, which require specific gestures that mimic those used with input devices, like the mouse, or lack hand control entirely.
Meta 2 Development Kit includes all of the following:
- Augmented reality headset
- See-through headset that displays holograms and digital content, along with a software development kit built on top of the most popular 3D engine in the world: Unity.
- Create holographic apps quickly and easily with Unity and C#.
- 90-degree field of view
- 2560 x 1440 display resolution
- Designed for comfort with everything below the eyebrows completely transparent and unobstructed so you can easily make eye contact with other people. Meta 2 works while wearing eyeglasses and can be comfortably worn for hours under most circumstances.
- 720p front-facing camera
- Sensor array for hand interactions and positional tracking
- Four speaker near-ear audio
- Brightness and volume control
- 9-foot cable for video (HDMI 1.4b), data, and power
- Support for Windows-based applications (Mac support planned for this year), including:
- Microsoft® Office
- Adobe® Creative Suite®
Meta 2 is a tethered device that requires a modern computer running Windows 8 or 10.