Meta’s next-generation avatars are getting legs

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a more detailed version of Horizon avatars on Tuesday, where he introduced the leading-edge avatars with legs. Yes, avatars are getting legs, and users will be able to use their avatars in the metaverse and beyond. At first, these upgraded avatars will be available in Horizon Worlds before the company reveals them to other platforms.

“Legs have been one of the most requested features on our roadmap, and it’s been a significant area of our focus,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s Connect event. “But seriously, legs are hard, which is why other virtual reality systems don’t have them either,” the company explained.

Meta said, “We’re going to bring legs to Horizon Worlds first, and we’re going to keep bringing them to more experiences over time as we improve our technology stack.” The current avatars of the company are floating torsos with heads, arms, and hands.

Meta’s new AI Model will predict your body position

The present-day avatars were created for walking. According to Zuckerberg, these avatars don’t feature an entire body because it has been challenging for a VR headset to accurately assess the position of legs or elbows. If the system had them show up inaccurately in VR, that would break the immersion.

As tracking and predictive technologies have improved, Meta has become better at determining what those body parts are doing. Legs can be tricky because of Blockage, according to Zuckerberg. When your legs are under a desk, for example, a standalone VR headset can’t see what you’re doing because the desk blocks the view of the on-headset cameras. Hence, Meta has built an AI model to predict the position of your whole body to avoid wrongly positioning legs, as it would be a disturbing sight for users. But Meta is confident that it can ensure legs and torsos line up accurately with the Quest pro headset, where your entire body will be present within VR.

In addition to legs, avatars will display a broader range of facial expressions and reactions to better convey how people are feeling, according to Meta. People will also be able to select more body types and skin tones for their avatars, allowing them to better represent themselves.

Avatars are coming to your zoom meetings

Meta also announced Mission Zoom, a new feature that allows you to use your avatar in Zoom meetings. If you don’t want to be on camera but still want to appear on screen, your avatar will be able to take your place once it’s launched.

Meta is expected to release these features in 2023.