By Thea Felicity

Meta is going above and beyond with its ambitious immersive metaverse plans with a new mechanical eyeball that can track human eye movements that will be sent to AR/VR hardware for testing.

Lately, meta has been heavily investing in robotics and showcasing how far ahead they are when it comes to scheming immersive metaverse experiences. Last year, Meta demonstrated a haptic glove prototype meant to let users feel virtual objects in the metaverse.

Just recently, Facebook showed off a thin synthetic skin called ReSkin, which could be used to generate human-like sensations for robotic limbs.The Gorgeous Danube Delta in 4k – from Tulcea Romania

Using the synthetic skin, robot parts can handle items as thin as 1mm in width without the worry of damaging them. It can also detect force as small as 0.1 Newton on objects as thin as 1mm. 

Now, new patents from Facebook describe a human-like eyeball device coated in a skin-like layer, called “Two-Axis Mechanical Rotatable Eyeball.” 

The animatronic eyeball has a volume that is similar to that of a human eyeball, and its exterior housing resembles the exterior of an actual human eyeball. 

Yet this is not the only similarity because the animatronic eyeball also has its own parts imitating human eyeball, including pupil and cornea.

All of these is only Meta’s first few steps towards producing a deeply riveting virtual world. 

Mechanical Eyeball for the Metaverse

If you’re worried that this device will be used on you, worry not. 

Facebook’s patent application noted that this mechanical eyeball would fit in an eye-tracking system, a testing ground for augmented reality and virtual reality equipment similar to Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset. 

Eye-tracking hardware is known to benefit VR headsets, and what better way to test and train than to create a robotic eye that mimics the human eye?

The mechanical eyeball’s features don’t stop there. Facebook is also planning to build the eyeball in a way that will be able to collect eye-tracking data in real-time or near-real-time, and relay it to processing systems.

VR hardware that supports this can now interact in immersive virtual worlds with minimal lag. 

Although Facebook’s patent talks about using the mechanical eyeball for more than just “an optical and display system,” robotics is also an essential part of its experimentation. 

In fact, the patent suggests it could be used on animatronic devices comprising a skin over mold-resembling human skin.

As mentioned, Meta introduced a synthetic skin called ReSkin. 

With this new robotic eyeball, it’s starting to make sense why the company is suddenly building devices that ‘eerily’ resemble human attributes and movements. 

Besides that, throughout the course of training artificial intelligence, Meta is already learning to see the world around it through a human perspective.

Nonetheless, true to their promise—these new devices will set to take the metaverse experience to a new level.