Meta’s latest headset, the Quest 3, promises to take fitness to the next level with its mixed reality capabilities. Unlike the Quest 2, which was limited to virtual reality, the Quest 3 can blend the real and digital worlds seamlessly, creating immersive and safe workouts.
What is mixed reality and how does it work on Quest 3?
Mixed reality (MR) is a term that describes the spectrum of experiences that combine elements of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR creates a fully artificial environment that blocks out the real world, while AR overlays digital information on top of the real world. MR can do both, depending on the context and the user’s preference.
The Quest 3 has a depth sensor for better hand tracking and visual recognition of how close or far you are from something. It also has four ultra-wide-angle cameras that provide a high-resolution passthrough view of your surroundings. This means that you can see the real world through the headset, either partially or fully, while also interacting with virtual objects and environments.
The Quest 3’s MR mode can be activated by a simple gesture or voice command, and it can adapt to different scenarios. For example, you can play a VR game in your living room, but switch to MR mode when you need to check your phone or talk to someone. Or you can use MR mode to create a virtual workspace on your desk, while still seeing your keyboard and mouse.
How does MR enhance fitness on Quest 3?
One of the most popular use cases for the Quest 2 was at-home fitness, transporting you to fun worlds so you don’t get bored burning calories. However, the Quest 2 also had some limitations, such as the need for a large and clear space, the risk of bumping into objects or people, and the lack of variety and intensity in some VR workouts.
The Quest 3 solves these problems with its MR mode, which makes working out in VR much safer and more effective. For instance, you can play Les Mills Bodycombat, one of the best Quest exercise games, in MR mode, which preserves the front 180º field of view of the VR experience but keeps your back, sides, and ground visible via passthrough. This way, you can punch and kick your virtual opponents, while also being aware of nearby furniture and people with a quick glance.
The Quest 3 also opens up new possibilities for fitness with its improved performance and graphics. The new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 and extra RAM, which make Quest 3 games look so much better, also make passthrough more responsive and realistic. This, in turn, enables new types of MR workouts that can incorporate the real world into the virtual one, such as:
- Running or cycling in your neighborhood, while seeing virtual landscapes and challenges on the headset.
- Doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your living room, while following a virtual coach and seeing your heart rate and calories burned on the headset.
- Practicing yoga or meditation in your bedroom, while seeing a virtual zen garden and hearing soothing sounds on the headset.
What are some of the best MR fitness apps and games for Quest 3?
The Quest 3 has a rich and diverse library of fitness apps and games, both VR and MR, that cater to different tastes and goals. Some of the best ones are:
- Supernatural: A subscription-based VR fitness app that offers daily personalized workouts with music, coaches, and scenic locations. It also has a MR mode that lets you see your real environment while working out, and a social feature that lets you join live classes and compete with friends.
- FitXR: A VR fitness app that combines boxing, dancing, and HIIT in a virtual studio. It also has a Zumba mode that lets you learn and perform the popular dance fitness routines in VR.
- Holofit: A VR fitness app that connects to your rowing machine, bike, or elliptical, and lets you explore different virtual worlds and challenges while exercising. It also has a MR mode that lets you see your real device and surroundings while using the app.
- VRWorkout: A free VR fitness app that uses your body as the controller, and makes you do various exercises such as squats, push-ups, burpees, and more. It also has a MR mode that lets you see your real floor and walls while working out, and a multiplayer mode that lets you join other users online.
- Zen Zone: A VR wellness app that helps you relax and meditate with guided sessions, ambient sounds, and beautiful environments. It also has a MR mode that lets you see your real room while using the app, and a biofeedback feature that lets you control the app with your breath and heart rate.