VivaTech: we participated in a virtual meeting in the metaverse of Meta

If the meeting will not necessarily be shorter, it will already be more innovative. The Meta group presents at VivaTech its vision of the metaverse, these virtual worlds whose the American group wants to become the reference with its Horizons.

His recipe? Make these universes more immersive thanks to the contribution of virtual reality powered by Oculus headsets. Proof of interest and curiosity around this brand new concept, the large Meta stand is always full, especially to try out Horizon Workrooms, the “metaverted” meeting rooms.

So how does it work? We sit in an office, put on the Quest 2 headset and off we go for a meeting around a virtual table with fairly well-designed avatars. Faces and bodies move well and the cartoon feeling fades quickly.

The Oculus Quest 2 headset immerses the user in the meeting.
The Oculus Quest 2 headset immerses the user in the meeting.

The joysticks are only used to access the interface and they are placed in front of you. Technology has recently taken a giant leap forward with hand tracking. The helmet detects them and reproduces all movements perfectly and right down to your fingertips. This reactivity reinforces immersion in virtuality and everything quickly becomes natural.

We turn to our table neighbor, the host of our meeting, who guides the guests in the first gestures to master. The speech is clear and our interlocutor seems really close. “It is the spatialization of sound that is the most important element in our metaverse”, explains Antoine Bordes, director of Meta’s AI research laboratory. “This will recreate a complicity and spontaneity in the exchanges, it will only lack avatars that are more photorealistic and capable of projecting the non-verbal as the raising of the eyebrows” he assures.

The virtual environment adopts the codes of classic meetings.
The virtual environment adopts the codes of classic meetings.

Hearing another person on the other side of the table, with a slightly more distant sound, indeed changes the perception of the room and imitates a classic meeting where everyone speaks more or less loudly. The decor changes in the blink of an eye: this “meeting” is exported to a beach or to the heart of a futuristic city. On the left, a screen broadcasts live video while on the right a large board is used to present the ideas of the day.

Workrooms also allows you to grab a virtual pen in order to draw on it or write down tracks during a “brainstorming”. The tool is therefore quite collaborative and reactive. Problem: the controller disconnects just when it’s our turn to try this pen, the “tracking” is lost and the application crashes.

The user can call on a palette of tools to express themselves on the virtual blackboard.
The user can call on a palette of tools to express themselves on the virtual blackboard.

The experience is objectively more impressive than imagined a priori as Meta has made progress in getting as close as possible to a physical meeting. Next step: a meeting in mixed reality where the metaverse will be superimposed on the environment of the office. Meta’s next helmet, called Cambria, should begin to transpose us into this future of work from next school year.

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VivaTech: we participated in a virtual meeting in the metaverse of Meta


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