Zuckerberg wants meta headsets to pass the ‘visual Turing test’
Meta executives aim to make VR headsets so advanced that people wearing them can’t tell “whether what they’re looking at is real or virtual.”
That’s a comment from Meta’s chief scientist, Michael Abrash, who recently joined CEO Mark Zuckerberg and some of the company’s top researchers for a video briefing with reporters. Led by Zuckerberg, the researchers detailed a series of prototypes developed over the last half-decade while stating that the goal is to eventually pass what they call the “visual Turing test”.
The test refers to the famous idea devised by mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing in 1950 to see if someone could reliably distinguish between a human and a machine in a text conversation. The Turing Visual Test “evaluates whether what is displayed in a VR headset can be distinguished from the real world,” Abrash said. “It’s a subjective test and it’s appropriate because what’s important here is human experience rather than technical measurements. And that’s a test that no VR technology can pass today.
Meta representatives detailed the range of prototypes and research equipment built to prove various concepts that would advance the state of the art in VR headset optics, as well as a new ultra-compact headset design called Mirror Lake. Douglas Lanman, director of display systems research at Meta, introduced the “glasses-like VR headset” that incorporates “almost everything our team has incubated to date”, such as varifocal optics, lenses pancake holographics and even reverse passthrough, though Mirror Lake is described as “only a concept” with no “fully functional helmet yet built”.
Current VR headset designs can create a powerful sense of presence by convincing your brain that you’re actually in another place, but constraints on resolution, fixed focus, field of view, dynamic range, and even weight of the headset itself remain constant reminders of visual reality. what you see in a helmet is not actually real.
“Our team is confident that passing the Turing Visual Test is our destination and nothing in physics seems to be standing in the way of us getting there,” Lanman said. “We remain fully committed to finding a practical path to a truly visually realistic metaverse.”
Mirror Lake has been described as “one of many potential pathways” for Meta to pass the test.
“If this happens…it will be a game-changer for the visual VR experience,” Abrash said.