Patent published on August 8, 2023

Smarter Oculus Quest 2: Meta's New Tech Knows When You Wear or Remove Your VR Headset

In a leap toward advancing the navigation capabilities of virtual reality software, Meta Platforms Technologies has sought to address the challenges faced by users of VR headsets. The company is making the news with a recent patent (US11720173B2), which might lead to significant tech enhancements in their Oculus Quest 2 headset.

At the heart of this patent lies a system designed to detect the headset's donning and doffing - in simpler terms, when a user puts on or removes the headset. Traditional systems err on the side of either too much sensitivity, turning on when they're not in use, or not enough, failing to activate even when the user is ready for their VR journey. Both ends of the scale result in a compromised user experience and battery life.

The existing solutions have relied on measurements from single sensors, which are prone to inaccuracies given the range of variables, such as the size of a user’s forehead or the amount of ambient light in a room. To solve this, Meta proposes a more composite approach. The patented system cleverly combines data from several sensors to ensure accurate detection of the headset's donning and doffing.

This advanced system uses devices that can sense how close an object is, relaying this information along with readings from sensors that interpret the forces or movements the headset is subjected to. This team of sensors works in harmony to decide when the user puts on or removes the headset. Notably, the system functions on low power, and the sensors don't interfere with one another, preserving the battery life and improving wear and tear.

One may envision the integration of this technology as shown in the figures accompanying the patent. These illustrations feature the proposed VR headset at various angles and the controllers the user might use to interact with the VR environment. The headset and the interactive features, combined with the patented sensor arrangement, aim to create a seamless virtual reality experience from the moment of donning to doffing.

Still, it's important to remind our readers that patents are only an assertion of claimed innovation. A patent is hardly a guarantee of a product's entry into the marketplace—it remains to be seen when or whether this innovation will find its way into future Oculus Quest models. Whether this patent will translate into a tangible product that you can buy off the shelf remains a suspenseful narrative from the world of Virtual Reality.

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