Metaverse: why avatars don’t have legs

It is a detail that catches the eye. In many demonstrations Metaverse currently, the avatars that evolve in this virtual world are content with a head, torso, arm, and hand. Below the belt is nothingness. We thus observe characters that seem to develop a little they floated in the air, without legs or feet. It’s quite distracting and inevitably detracts from the desired immersive experience, even if you’re wearing VR glasses.

However, this stylistic effect – somewhat confusing in this imaginary parallel world – finds its explanation in a very specific reason. One has to look at the material currently being proposed. And more precisely on the side virtual reality headsetswhose 12.5 million units sold in 2021, according to Omdia. The best-selling model in the world in 2021 was the Facebook/Meta-owned Meta Quest 2 (better known as Oculus). Mark Zuckerberg’s company would claim more than 50% market share last year. And the Meta Quest 2 consists of a headset and two hand controllers or joysticks. But nothing on the feet or legs.

Virtual reality headset with two controllers. Photo: sabbracadabra/Shutterstock.

No sensors on the lower body

This absence of sensors located on the lower limbs prevents the creation of smooth and believable movements. When you move in virtual universe or metaverse, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to know if you’re making big moves. Did you take a big step during virtual ping pong to touch the ball on the other side of the table, or did you just bend over? In order not to disturb the short circuit of the game too much, the developers decided on the simplest solution: cleanly and simply remove the body of the avatars below the waist.

“Tracking your own feet accurately is very difficult and basically impossible from just a physical standpoint with existing headsets.”he said Andrew Bosworthvice president of Reality Labs of Meta (Facebook) duringinformal exchanges with the public on Instagram on February 10, 2022. “We could add more sensors, but it would be more complicated to buy and it would cost more. Or we can imagine “fake” legs, that is, make an imaginary simulation that would suit everyone.”

In this case, artificial intelligence would come into play, but he specified that it was not immediately in the development of Meta Quest (Meta Quest 3 should be released in 2023) and Facebook’s Metaverse. You will have to take your problems patiently…

An example of a virtual experience in Horizon Worlds, a social virtual reality game published by Meta:

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