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Travel Mode is the Latest Vision Pro Feature to Come to Quest 2 & 3

The Meta is finally rolling out the long-awaited travel mode for the Quest 2 and Quest 3, ostensibly to hack another unique feature from the Apple Vision Pro.

Updated (May 13, 2024): Meta says the new Quest 2/3 travel mode is specially tuned to take plane movement into account, even when it comes to looking out the window. The company says in Blog post The travel mode will be updated in the future to work with other modes of transportation, such as trains.

It’s being rolled out as a beta feature at the moment, so to activate Travel Mode, you’ll need to select it in the Experimental section of the Settings menu, which will then allow you to toggle Travel Mode on and off from Quick Settings.

The original article announcing the travel situation is as follows:

Original article (January 25, 2024)Airplanes seem like an ideal place to dive into the world of virtual reality, where you can change the cramped environment of the cabin into a giant movie theater, or reduce hours of web browsing on a huge screen.Something that shouldn’t bother your seatmates also a lot. Although Quest’s tracking system is one of the most reliable, it still has trouble transporting vehicles like planes and cars. Meta seems to be working on fixing that.

For anyone who’s tried using the Quest on an airplane, it’s basically only usable when you reach a constant altitude and heading. When you take a taxi, bank, take off or land, you’ll quickly find yourself unwittingly thrusting into virtual reality, making it distractingly unusable. Cultivate a distinct attitude, and you may find yourself falling through the virtual floor.

In response to X (formerly Twitter) user Andrew Fox, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth says the company is working on a way to make the Quest work better for in-flight entertainment.

This is Bosworth’s response:

“No, we use an IMU to keep things positioned relative to the movement of your headset, so moving vehicles are a challenge (when they’re accelerating in any direction). We also use cameras, of course, that work together as the IMU is higher frequency but lower resolution. I work on him!”

The problem is pretty much the same for any optically tracked VR headset on the market at this point. However, this has not stopped companies from thinking of clever ways to overcome this problem. Holoridea startup founded by Audi, has partnered with HTC to attach the Vive Flow autonomous headset to cars using an adjustment device that takes into account the relative motion of the vehicle, allowing users to interact with A handful of licensed applications.

In 2021, Meta announced that it is trying to do something similar Partnership with BMW, which would pin virtual objects more precisely by hooking the Quest’s tracking system into the car itself. Although the company released an update to the research project in mid-2023, it is still unclear when we will see it in the company’s consumer VR headsets.

Apple is undoubtedly one of the biggest names promising to solve travel problems recently, as the company announced the $3,500 Vision Pro headset. It will include a “Travel” mode., which Apple says can be used to “stabilize visuals for use on aircraft.” How this works is still a mystery at this point, though it’s possible that the headset can switch to a special tracking mode that relies solely on the optical sensors while ignoring the IMUs entirely. This may result in less accurate tracking overall, but at least it can be used in an aircraft.

Could the Meta achieve something similar? probably. If the company wants to maintain core feature parity with the Vision Pro, which launches on February 2nd, we may see something sooner rather than later. Of course, there’s no timeline for the meta effort yet, so we’ll keep an eye on that Bosworth on Instagrambecause he regularly does Q&As there.

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