Meta Unveils New Mixed Reality Headset in Push for Traction on Metaverse
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Meta Unveils New Mixed Reality Headset in Push for Traction on Metaverse

Facebook-parent also showcases AI assistants for social apps, new Ray-Ban smart glasses

By SALVADOR RODRIGUEZ
Thu, Sep 28, 2023 8:04amGrey Clock 3 min

Facebook parent Meta Platforms on Wednesday announced the release date of its coming Quest 3 mixed-reality headset and new Ray-Ban smart glasses along with a bevy of AI assistants for its social apps.

“The limits of your physical space are going to be able to expand,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when announcing the new products. “You’re going to be able to be a part of much larger worlds.”

The company is hoping the devices will jump-start its push to bring users into the so-called metaverse, an effort on which it has spent billions of dollars and seen limited returns. Apple is set to release its Vision Pro headset in 2024, years after Zuckerberg renamed the company in an attempt to focus on what he’s said may be the next emerging computing platform.

The Quest 3 will place an emphasis on the ability for users to work or play in apps that overlay virtual objects within users’ physical spaces, Zuckerberg said. The headset will begin shipping to users on Oct. 10, with preorders for the $499 device starting on Wednesday. Zuckerberg said the device will place emphasis on the ability for users to work or play in apps that project virtual objects within users’ physical spaces.

Zuckerberg said the company designed the device to have the “world’s best immersive content library.” As part of the presentation, Zuckerberg showed a demonstration of a Lego game and announced that Meta has joined with Microsoft to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to the device in December. Additionally, Microsoft 365 will come to the Quest by the end of the year, Zuckerberg said.

The Quest 3 “is going to be the best value spatial computing headset on the market for a long time to come,” said Meta Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth, adding that the device features no wires or a battery pack, a shot at Apple’s Vision Pro device. That headset will cost $3,499.

Meta will also release the second generation of its Ray-Ban smart glasses on Oct. 17 for $299. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that the devices would arrive as soon as this fall.

The second generation Ray-Ban smart glasses will allow users to livestream their perspective to their followers. The new smart glasses will include a 36-hour battery life and will be available in more Ray-Ban models than its predecessor.

The device will also come equipped with Meta AI, an artificial-intelligence assistant announced by Zuckerberg on Wednesday. Users will also be able to point at objects or landmarks they are looking at and ask Meta AI for information about it.

“Smart glasses are the ideal form factor to let an AI assistant see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing,” Zuckerberg said.

Meta AI is built on the company’s Llama 2 large-language model and is a general purpose AI assistant that can answer user questions within Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Meta AI will be able to provide users with real-time information through a partnership with Microsoft Bing, Zuckerberg said.

Additionally, Meta announced that it will also release 28 AI chatbots that users will be able to interact with. Meta joined with a number of celebrities, including Tom Brady, Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg, whose faces provide facial expressions as users interact with the chatbots. The Journal had previously reported that Meta would release AI chatbots with personalities.

“This is our first effort at training a bunch of AIs that are a bit more fun,” Zuckerberg said, adding that they will have a number of limitations that will become apparent to users.

Zuckerberg said the AI chatbots will be released in a limited beta mode on Wednesday.

In addition to the chatbots, Zuckerberg announced EMU, an AI model capable of taking users’ text prompts and turning them into images within five seconds. EMU, which won’t be open sourced, will be integrated within Meta AI and will roll out to English-speaking users over the next month, starting on Wednesday. The image-generating model will allow users to create custom stickers they can send to friends, and it will also allow users to edit their images on Instagram next month, Zuckerberg said.

—Meghan Bobrowsky contributed to this article.



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A ‘cheeky’ seat takes out the top prize at Australia’s Next Top Designers Awards

A cash prize from Kanebridge Quarterly magazine, offered for the first time this year, drew a record number of entries for the design competition

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Mon, Jun 17, 2024 2 min

A versatile stool with a sense of fun took out the top prize at the Australia’s Next Top Designers awards at Design Show Australia last week.

The ‘Cheeky’ stool designed by Maryam Moghadam was the unanimous winner among the judging panel, which included Kanebridge Quarterly magazine Editor in Chief, Robyn Willis, Workshopped Creative Director Olaf Sialkowski, Design Show event organiser, Andrew Vaughan and Creative Director at Flexmirror Australia, Matt Angus.

Designed as an occasional stool or side table, the Cheeky stool comes in a range of skin tones. The judges applauded its commercial applications, its flexibility to work in a range of environments, and its sense of play.

In accepting the $10,000 prize, designer Maryam Moghadam quipped she was pleased to see ‘other people find bums as funny as I do’. A finalist at last year’s awards, Moghadam will put the prize money towards bringing her product to market.

Winner Maryam Moghadam said the $10,000 prize money would be put towards developing her product further for market.

Australia’s Next Top Designers is in its fourth year, but this is the first year a cash prize has been offered. Kanebridge Quarterly magazine has put up the prize money to support the next generation of emerging industrial design talent in Australia.

Editor in Chief Robyn Willis said the cash prize offered the winner the opportunity to put the money towards whatever aspect of their business it would most benefit.

“That might be prototyping their product further, spending on marketing, or simply paying for travel or even childcare expenses to allow the designer to focus on their work and take it to the next stage,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be supporting this design program and nurturing emerging design in a very practical way.”

The Coralescence lamps from the Tide Pool series by Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa had strong commercial applications, the judges said.
The Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit is crafted from FSC-certified oak or walnut.

Two finalists were also awarded ‘highly commended’ by the judges — Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit and the Coralescence lights from Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa at Tide Pool Designs. The judges agreed both products were beautifully resolved from a design perspective, as well as having strong commercial applications in residential and hospitality design. 

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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