Meta Quest 3 Blueprints Leaked
YouTuber Brad Lynch, popularly known by the moniker SadlyItsBradley, received leaks of the schematics and other key features of the upcoming Meta Quest 3 headset.
XR Hardware analyst Brad lynch has previously provided leaks and even schematics of the Project Cambria headset which later turned out to be valid after a hotel worker presumably bumped on an engineering sample of the headset with matching specifications that is set to launch next month. There could, therefore, be something to the analyst’s latest leak of the Meta Quest 3.
To err on the side of caution, keep in mind that leaked information may not always be accurate. Some of the leaked information may be outdated, incomplete, or simply wrong.
Like in his Meta Quest Pro leak, Lynch has presented the CAD blueprints for the Meta Quest 3 headset. The schematics show the design and technical features of the headset. According to Lynch, these schematics are more or less of the headset’s final design although he cautions that the headset could go through some small design changes before it goes into mass production.
Lynch also claims that he received additional details on the technology from his sources that are not discernible from images only but he didn’t share these.
From the leaked Meta Quest 3 schematics, it is apparent from its rear angle that it uses pancake lenses that are similar to the Meta Quest Pro’s lenses which gives the headset a narrower build.
Pancake lenses are also used in the Pico 4 series of headsets. Pancake lenses add some distance to the front of the camera and can support smaller panels that have shorter gaps in the lenses. Pancake lenses, therefore, allow for slimmer and lighter visors.
On top of the pancake lenses, the Pico headset cuts down on the visor weight with a design that houses the battery in the rear of the strap. However, the Meta Quest 3 schematics show that this upcoming model features the same soft fabric used in the Quest 2 headset.
The bottom angle seemingly shows a scroll wheel that provides stepless lens separation adjustment. The Quest headset provides just three preset lens separation distances which could produce a slightly blurred image for users with an interpupillary distance (IPD) that lies between these three options.
The leaks suggest the Stinson headset is putting an emphasis on mixed reality functionality over social presence. It is likely that Meta will incorporate both eye tracking and face tracking in its more expensive Cardiff model which will be the ‘Meta Quest 3 Plus’. There is certainly room for a new Meta headset that lies somewhere in between the $400 and the $1500 (?) Meta Quest Pro. However, there is no concrete information on Meta’s upcoming devices beyond the Meta Quest Pro.
The CAD blueprint also shows that both the headphone jack and USB-C port in the Meta Quest 3 headset have been integrated into the head mount bracket.
Lynch’s sources also claim that the Meta Quest 3 headset features two LC displays, compared to the Meta Quest 2 headset which uses a single LC display. The headset’s lens distance is adjustable using a dial which can clearly be seen in the blueprint. The bottom part has three contacts suggesting that the Meta Quest 3 headset will have compatibility with the Quest Pro’s charging station.
Zuckerberg did an interview last year where he stated that there were Meta teams already working on the “next few generations of virtual reality” as well as what the Quest 3 and Quest 4 headsets would look like. Zuckerberg also stated that he was “really excited” about getting eye tracking and face tracking in future headsets. It is already confirmed these features are in the Quest Pro headset set to be launched next month. In an interview with Lex Fridman in February this year, Zuckerberg emphasized this same point stating that as the company designs its next Quest version, both face tracking and eye tracking will be a “big focus” for the company.
The leaked schematics also show a headset without face tracking or eye tracking. Could this be a pointer to a strategy shift? The sensors shown on the front of the headset could provide a clue.
A Mixed Reality Headset for Consumers
Meta’s upcoming Quest Pro headset is focused on mixed reality experiences. Apple’s upcoming Reality Pro headset is also reportedly, focused on mixed reality functions. Another major competitor, ByteDance’s Pico 4 headset, also features a color passthrough functionality but since it cannot understand the room geometry, it’s incapable of placing virtual objects behind furniture or objects that might occlude them the virtual objects and even on surfaces and walls.
In the Quest 2 headset, Meta tried to solve this in a crude way by having the user manually mark out the furniture and walls in the room but the process is cumbersome and does not give flawless results.
The schematic of the Meta Quest 3 leaked to Bradley shows that the headset has a depth sensor which is also an important Quest Pro feature. The depth sensor, at launch or with a software update, would enable these high-spec headsets to automatically scan a room. The ability to automatically scan a room is already available in other devices equipped with depth sensors such as the iPhone Pro, HoloLens 2, and iPad Pro.
No Eye Tracking and Face Tracking Sensors
This is the biggest surprise from the leak. The headset does not have eye tracking and face tracking sensors. This is interesting given that Zuckerberg has consistently emphasized that these features are a top priority for Meta headsets.
From the schematics, it seems Meta is focused on building the Quest 3 into a full-fledged mixed reality headset over incorporating face tracking and eye tracking.
According to Lynch, both of these tracking functionalities are still too expensive for Meta Quest 3 as their implementation requires an additional five sensors and an expensive chip. The Meta Quest Pro has these extra sensors for its hand tracking and face tracking functions.
Lynch describes the Quest 3 as a “mixed reality device for consumers” because it contains multiple sensors on the front for mixed reality functions. These sensors include two RGB cameras, two black-and-white cameras, and a depth sensor. Data from the disparate sensors is fused through software thereby allowing for a high-quality passthrough mode like that in the Meta Quest Pro.
There are two extra cameras located on the sides of the headsets cases that provide spatial tracking functions in the headset.
There is also the possibility that Meta has a number of Quest 3 prototypes and that the leaked schematics are merely for just one of the designs.
The biggest improvement in Quest 3 isn’t visible from the schematics, though. Lynch claims a source told him the headset will be powered by Qualcomm’s next-generation and yet-to-be-announced Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset. Most of the current standalone virtual reality headsets including Pico 4, Quest 2, Lynx R1, and Vive Focus 3 are powered by the Snapdragon XR2 chip which Qualcomm recently retroactively renamed Gen 1.
Qualcomm’s XR2 Gen 1 chip is a variant of its smartphone chip, the Snapdragon 865 which it first shipped in early 2020. The Snapdragon 865 smartphone chip has since been followed by two new generations of chips. It is therefore likely that the XR2 Gen 2 chip derived from one of these chips could provide considerable performance improvements and allow games that are on a grander scale and high-fidelity graphics.
The Meta Quest 3 headset is unlikely to be announced at this year’s Meta Connect. According to an internal Meta roadmap seen by The Information, the Meta Quest 3 headset is scheduled for launch in 2023. This year, the company is “laser-focused” on launching the Meta Quest Pro headset, codenamed Project Cambria.
The Meta roadmap leaked in May showed that the company is planning to launch two new consumer-facing Quest headsets, codenamed Stinson and Cardiff. in 2023 and 2024, in that order. According to Lynch’s leak, the Stinson headset is set to launch in 2023.