Oculus CTO and legendary game developer, John Carmack recently went on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast where he talked about the state of augmented and virtual reality. Carmack talked a bit about Facebook's recent suggestions that the future of Insight and Guardian motion-tracking technologies is all-day wearable augmented reality glasses. He underscored that future isn't immediately on the horizon.
Carmack also talked about other companies in the AR and VR space, such as Magic Leap. He said that Magic Leap has been underdelivering on its early hype. He says that technology hasn't advanced to the point yet where AR glasses can be made small enough for users to wear all day, and that Oculus could build a "sort of shoebox-sized thing" that people could wear.
However, it wouldn't be socially acceptable in most places. He noted that even if Oculus could reduce the size of the headset by three-fourths making it the size of swim goggles, people still wouldn't want to wear it for long periods. The problem isn't only hardware that isn't mature enough to bring all-day wearable AR glasses; the problem is also in consumer applications.
Carmack is struggling to define practical consumer applications for the technology noting that he is "skeptical of the broad utility" of a lot of the "little demos" that seemed interesting initially. Microsoft's HoloLens AR technology has found uses in training and collaborative engineering, but he says that Magic Leap oversold what the capabilities of its device actually are.
Talking about some other unnamed firms that have made AR glasses that are sunglasses in form factor and "do some little things with the display," John Carmack says the problem is that they run out of power very quickly. Carmack notes that the end goal for AR glasses is to wear them and have them do something useful for him for 16 hours. Carmack offers no solid insight into when he thinks that goal might be reached, but is firmly convinced the technology will impact our daily lives in a very positive way some day in the future, as soon as technology catches up.
The interview with Rogan is fascinating and a must-watch, especially if you're a fan of Rogan's podcasts. As always, Joe is an excellent, well-researched host.