First ‘natural machine’ augmented reality product Meta 2 launches to developers

Iron Man meets Princess Leia
March 2, 2016

Meta 2 (credit: Meta)

Last month, Meta CEO Meron Gribetz wowed TED with a sneak peak at the company’s new Meta 2 augmented-reality product. Today, Meta announced that the Meta 2 Development Kit is now available for pre-orders.

Meta 2′s Iron-Man-like immersive functionality appears similar to Hololens and Magic Leap, but with a wider 90-degree field of view, 2560 x 1440 high-DPI display, and natural hand-controlled operation.

Meta | Meta 2 Development Kit — Launch Video

Technology pundit and futurist Robert Scoble called Meta 2 “the most important new product since the original Macintosh.”

In his TED Talk, Gribetz, a neuroscientist, described a neuroscience-based design that “merges the art of user interface design with the science of the brain, creating ‘natural machines’ that feel like extensions of ourselves rather than the other way around.”

Meta 2 was designed with input from nearly 1000 companies that were users of the first-generation Meta 1 (see “Meta’s AR headset lets you play with virtual objects in 3D space“). Meta believes the new version has the potential to “fundamentally change the way people collaborate, communicate and engage with information and each other, including medicine, education, and manufacturing.”

With Meta, you’ll be able to directly grab items you’re interested in and
interact with them. (credit: Meta)

Importantly, Meta 2 is fully hand-controlled; no input device required. Meta says types of AR application include 3D modeling (has advantages over 3D on a screen), web browsing (add holograms to any existing webpage) and remote collaboration (colleagues can view and manipulate holograms with their hands).

Meta 2 has an on-board color camera (720p) and four speakers for near-ear audio. It supports Windows-based applications (Mac later this year) and initially requires a modern computer running Windows 8 or 10.

Steve Mann with 3 of his inventions: EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, smartwatch, and SWIM (Sequential Wave Imprinting Machine) phenomenological augmented reality. (credit: Steve Mann)

Meta’s chief scientist is legendary inventor Steve Mann, PhD., a professor at the University of Toronto (see “First attack on a cyborg“).

Meta | Meta Pioneers: Holograam