A screenshot in the Quest 2 developer documentation reveals an unannounced ‘Body Tracking Support’ option.
The ‘Quest Features’ configuration section of the Oculus Unity Integration allows developers to enable system-level features such as Hand Tracking, the System Keyboard, a System Splash Screen, and Passthrough layers.
Here’s what it looks like in the latest publicly available version of the Oculus Unity Integration:
Now look closely at the screenshot of the same interface on the Quest 2 Tracked Keyboard SDK ‘Getting Started’ documentation page:
The red outlines were added by Meta, not us. Below Hand Tracking Frequency and above Tracked Keyboard Support is a new option called ‘Body Tracking Support’. This feature hasn’t been announced, teased, or referenced anywhere else we’re aware of.
Meta declined to comment on future plans.
So what exactly could this mean?
Quest headsets have four wide angle greyscale cameras. Two are on the top corners of the front, facing up and to the side – these essentially never see your body. But the bottom two cameras face slightly downward. If you’re looking forward these cameras can usually see your arms, and if you’re seated or looking down they can even see some of your body too.
Currently the only body parts tracked by Quest 2 are your head and your hands (including fingers). Hand Tracking was added as a software update in late 2019. It’s possible Meta plans to expand this system in a future update to include arms, the torso, or potentially even legs.
Body tracking from a headset would, however, be much less robust than external systems (such as HTC Vive Trackers). The torso wouldn’t be visible when looking upwards, and even when looking down for many body shapes the view to the legs would be occluded.
It’s also possible this Body Tracking Support setting isn’t intended for Quest 2. Meta intends to launch Project Cambria this year, a higher end product line with advanced sensors for eye and face tracking.
Quest Pro / Seacliff [thread]
found by Samulia in the Seacliff firmware pic.twitter.com/0pGODx2HCp
— Bastian ? ? (@Basti564) October 24, 2021
Back in October, when Cambria was believed to be called ‘Quest Pro’, a video was found in the Oculus operating system firmware showing a user standing in front of a mirror, where an avatar is matching their body movements. Since Cambria is confirmed to have higher resolution color passthrough, it’s possible this extra detail makes it possible to detect real mirrors and use them for body tracking in this way.
Meta’s Reality Labs division doesn’t just make VR headsets, it also makes a line of video calling appliances called Portal. Each Portal device has a high resolution wide angle camera which could potentially be suitable for body tracking.
Portal devices can already track human heads – they do this to crop the view to the people in the scene and to overlay visual effects & stickers. But it’s unclear whether the onboard processors are powerful enough to track multiple body parts. Meta’s incoming CTO has also cast doubt on this happening any time soon, saying in an Instagram ask-me-anything session last year that the overlap between Quest owners and Portal owners is currently too low.