Biometric technology will play an important role in new VR headsets from Apple and Facebook parent company Meta, but in strikingly different ways.
Apple’s VR headset will feature an iris recognition system for user authentication, according to a report from The Information. Citing two unnamed individuals who worked on the device, the report says that the headset’s ‘Iris ID’ system would be used to authorize payments, and to automatically log into a given user’s online accounts when the user puts on the headset.
The iris scanning will reportedly be enabled through the same camera sensors that the device will use for foveated rendering, a technique in which scenes outside of a user’s focus are rendered at a lower resolution graphically. That, in turn, requires gaze tracking, in which the sensors are used to dynamically assess where the user is looking at any given moment.
Meta’s VR headset, meanwhile, will feature gaze-tracking technology that is likely to be used to measure users’ engagement with advertising content. As Gizmodo reports, Meta’s announcement of its $1,500 Meta Quest Pro came along with an updated “Eye Tracking Privacy Notice” in which Meta explained that it will use eye-tracking data to help “personalise your experiences and improve Meta Quest.” That language is typically used as a disclaimer when user data will be used for targeted ads, the report notes.
The Meta Quest Pro is slated to go on sale on October 25. Apple’s headset device, on the other hand, is expected to be unveiled in 2023, and to have a price tag in the range of $2,000-3,000.