Augments are the most interesting new feature of Meta Quest 3
Augments are an exciting new mixed reality feature for Meta Quest 3 that could change the way VR headsets are used.
Meta announced Augments at the Meta Connect 2023 conference. Augments are interactive, spatially aware digital objects that are persistently anchored in your physical space. Meta describes the mixed reality feature as follows:
"Imagine hanging your favorite piece of art on an accent wall or a weather augment on your desk that alerts you before rain starts—and every time you put on your headset, these digital objects appear in the same places. You’ll be able to customize your space with augments like Instagram Reels, frames on your wall that show photos or videos from Facebook or Instagram, and portals that let you quickly jump back into your favorite immersive VR games."
Meta also has plans for branded augments such as an iHeartRadio music player, Beat Saber trophies, a portal for the Supernatural fitness app, and more. Augments will launch in 2024.
Gimmick or great potential?
Of course, none of this is new. AR headsets have been experimenting with persistent AR objects and widgets years ago. But with Quest 3, the first mass-market mixed reality headset, this idea is likely to be further explored and fleshed out over time.
We already know that Meta Quest 3 will use passthrough by default, and that you'll be able to jump from it into fully immersive VR applications and back into your physical environment. This will increase the appeal of augments.
Especially if controller-free widgets and mini-games emerge that make it worthwhile to stay in mixed reality. After all, you could launch them faster than traditional VR apps while staying in physical space with other people. Augments are definitely one of the most interesting new features in Meta Quest 3.
With a passthrough-first design and augments, Meta is fulfilling my #1 wish for Meta Connect 2023 announcements. So far, details about the technology and its capabilities are scarce, but we may learn more from today's developer sessions.