This Week In XR:META’S $1,500 Quest Pro VR Headset Will Track Emotions Using Eye Movements For Targeting Ads

Cameras inside the device that track eye and face movements can make an avatar’s expressions more realistic, but they raise new privacy questions


Meta this week unveiled its newest VR headset — Meta Quest Pro — which is state-of-the-art offering much-needed upgrades to help us experience the metaverse in the best possible way.

Mark Zuckerberg with the vr headset

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s name change last year, he and his staff have signaled over and over that metaverse development is their utmost priority. This week, the company moved closer to their grand ambitions by announcing their latest virtual reality (VR) headset: the Meta Quest Pro.

Meta hopes the Meta Quest Pro will be more comfortable to wear than the Quest 2, offer cleaner graphics, and position the company as the leader of a metaverse work future. The company needs the headset to succeed: the company is losing billions a year on its VR investments, while recent reports have alleged turmoil and disarray inside the company, with its employees reportedly showing reluctance to use its flagship VR app, Horizon Worlds.

While reviewers say the Quest Pro is markedly improved from its predecessor in many areas, it comes with a heavy price tag, $1,500, that will likely keep the layperson away. Here’s what to know about Meta’s new device.

However, a report by Gizmodo has highlighted that Meta has made sure it retains its meta-ness — its notorious habit of ‘personalising user experience’, which is basically tracking all your user data — by tracking your eye movements and emotions to target ads.

The report spotted this in its privacy policy under ‘Eye Tracking Privacy Notice’ where it claimed that it will allow “Meta personalise your experiences and improve Meta Quest”.

This has also been agreed by Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg in a conversation with the Financial Times. He revealed that this will help them “understand whether people engage with an advertisement or not.”

Regardless of the fact that you’re okay with sharing your data for ads, the data collection capabilities on the Quest Pro definitely are at an entirely different level. The eye tracking feature will not just inform Meta about what you’re interested in, it will also offer unprecedented data on your emotions — whether a particular ad brings you happiness, excitement, anxiety or anger — our eyes can clearly reveal this.

Ray Walsh, a digital privacy researcher at ProPrivacy said in a statement to Gizmodo that these sensors will be able to literally see an individual look at an ad for a watch, glance at it for ten seconds, smile and think if this is something they can afford. No other medium has offered such a level of personal information. And sadly no matter how much one would feel like disabling the eye-tracking feature, it is that feature that is one of the reasons for picking the Quest Pro. The sensors allow your avatar to feel a lot more organic, literally transferring realistic expressions from your face to your digital avatar.

Just when you think user privacy is breaching its limits, humanity and tech companies like Meta find new ways to breach even deeper, pushing us even closer to a world where user privacy is nothing but a myth.

The new headset is improved as well as expensive from the older one.
》The Quest Pro will be available for $1,499.99 on October 25. That’s more than triple the price of the Quest 2.

Why does the Quest Pro cost so much? There are plenty of upgrades to this new device. Its outward-facing cameras have 4 times the number of pixels as his older one, for instance, which renders surrounding environments with much higher clarity. Its field of view is wider; colors pop, and blacks look much darker. The device’s new hand controllers have additional features and can serve as virtual pens, allowing you to write and sketch with precision.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta’s ultimate goal is AR, not VR.
In his recent interview with Joe Rogan, Zuckerberg said that Meta’s current headsets were simply stepping stones toward an augmented reality (AR) future, in which everyone wears smart glasses that allow you to overlay digital graphics or objects onto the real world. (A map in AR would lay out an arrow on the street pointing to your destination, for instance.) Accordingly, the Pro has several AR capabilities. The DJ app Tribe XR, for instance, allows you to operate a virtual mixing board and turntables while being able to look out on the actual party you’re playing music for. Another app allows you to paint on a virtual canvas, and then see how your finished masterpiece looks hanging up on your bedroom wall.

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