Like the proud father of a very clumsy child, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta’s future mixed reality controller to EssilorLuxottica executives on Wednesday.
The event, besides produce an Instagram postadds further confirmation to reports of Meta’s plans to use EMG technology to interact with its future augmented reality glasses.
Neural interface — Meta’s team was in Italy to discuss future smart eyewear projects with current eyewear partner EssilorLuxottica (creators of the Ray-Ban Stories). “Here Leonard is using a prototype of our neural interface EMG bracelet that will eventually allow you to control your glasses and other devices,” Zuckerberg wrote in his Instagram post. The man wearing the large band in question is Leonardo Del Vecchio, the co-founder and president of EssilorLuxottica.
Meta has previously demonstrated the Neural Interface Bracelet as a Facebook Reality Labs project. The company bought CTRL-Labs, the team behind the differential electromyography technology that powers the bracelet, in 2019. Showing the bracelet to business partners, however, and connecting it directly to a future pair of glasses ARs made with EssilorLuxottica, seems to suggest that Meta is quite confident in the technology.
What about the hands? — Meta’s current VR hardware is heavily dependent on which controllers or hand tracking to use, but clearly the end goal is even more ambitious. Hand tracking feels more natural than using a controller, but having to barely move – as the current wristband prototype seems to allow – would be even better, especially for anyone using AR or VR hardware with limited mobility. .
Reports suggest the ideal version of Meta’s bracelet (i.e. one that is not the size of a first-gen Garmin forerunner) is still many years away, but Zuckerberg seems content to keep betting the farm on “the metaverse,” even if the methods seem even more invasive than the cameras. Perhaps his Italian friends are also convinced.