Proper tongue tracking won’t be a standard feature on Meta Quest anytime soon, Meta’s CTO hints. But AI could help.
In his recent AMA on Instagram, Andrew Bosworth was asked about tongue tracking support and said:
“Tongue tracking is hard without a camera that’s really far down your face and pointing into your mouth. And we don’t have one of those. I don’t know that we’re gonna get one of those. It doesn’t really fit super well into the headset. Could you add some kind of external dongle thing that did it? Maybe. It would still look pretty aggressive. And I’m not sure, it would sell well. I’m not sure, it’s worth it is the answer.
I’m not saying that tongue tracking isn’t a noticeable feature, especially as you get more realistic. A lot of this is: Can we estimate tongue position better based on what we’re hearing audibly? That might be one of the stories. And if you stick your tongue out, can we see it? Maybe that’s doable from the position that cameras are currently at.”
According to Meta’s CTO, we shouldn’t expect advanced tongue tracking anytime soon. However, Bosworth suggests that it may one day be possible to achieve (rudimentary) tongue tracking using AI and existing tracking cameras. In fact, Quest Pro already does it.
HTC did it with a sophisticated module
Quest Pro, which offers face tracking, recently received software support for tongue tracking using the built-in IR cameras. However, the headset only detects how far the tongue is extended. There are also very few applications that support tongue tracking, VRChat via Steam Link being one example.
Until Meta releases a headset that makes tongue tracking more accessible, developer adoption will not gain momentum.
HTC achieved tongue tracking by offering modules for its headsets. The company launched a facial tracker add-on for Vive Pro in 2021, followed by another module for Vive Focus 3 in 2022. In the first video, Brad Lynch demonstrates the older, now seemingly discontinued Vive Pro add-on with his avatar. Compare that to the basic tongue tracking of Quest Pro in the second video.
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