Meta’s virtual reality avatars finally have legs

Is it so difficult to create a metaverse avatar, a digital representation of us that can walk on two legs?

“I think everyone’s been waiting for it,” declared a cartoonish digital representation of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He unveiled his new avatar legs and jumped up and down at a virtual reality event on Tuesday. “But seriously, legs can be hard. This is why they aren’t available in other virtual reality systems.

Meta and Microsoft introduced early avatar models that were ridiculed for their legless, waist-up bodies, which they floated around their virtual worlds.

This is partly because tech companies are eager to showcase their progress in creating virtual-reality environments, while also working on technical challenges that make avatars more human-like. Meta was renamed from Facebook last year to help it become a provider of metaverse experience for work and play.

Zuckerberg called legs “probably the most sought-after feature on our roadmap” (and said they would be soon available on Meta’s Horizon virtual reality platform). According to Zuckerberg, the problem is perception. It involves how the brain interprets images through a virtual-reality headset and how it accepts renderings based on how precisely they are positioned.

Because legs are often hidden from view, it’s more difficult to accurately render them.

He said, “If your legs are below a desk or your arms block your view, your headset won’t be able to see them directly.”

Zuckerberg stated that the company is working to improve its artificial intelligence

systems’ ability to track and predict where other body parts should move.

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