PICO 4 Pro Review: Eye Tracking and Facial Expression Capture Enhance VR Immersive Experience

The upgrade of PICO 4 Pro focuses on the application experience areas of eye tracking and facial expression capture. Although there are not many hardware upgrades, the immersive experience has been greatly improved. If you pay more attention to interactive experience, PICO 4 Pro will let you understand why it is “Pro”.

PICO 4 Pro specs and features:

  • 2.56-inch LCD screen*2
  • 2160*2160 pixel, 1200PPI
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 512GB
  • 6070mAh large battery
  • 4 tracking cameras
  • $526 – Check latest price on AliExpress


Design and Configuration Parameters

Judging from the appearance design, remote control handle and accessories of PICO 4 Pro, there is basically no significant difference from PICO 4. It’s just that the front has changed from black to gold, the power button is on the right side, and the volume button is still located in the upper area of the right strap. The left side is the USB-C interface, which can be connected to read the data of the U disk or mobile hard disk of this interface.

There are cooling holes on the top and bottom areas of the front of the VR headset, and the cameras at the four corners play a role in positioning. The camera in the middle of the front can be used to observe the surrounding environment after wearing PICO 4 Pro. The speakers are on either side of the straps near the ear area. When adjusting the strap, the velcro of the headband and the adjustment knob at the end of the VR headset can adjust the tightness of the VR headset.

The accessories still provide glasses holder and nose pad, and the installation method is the same as that of PICO 4. It can be said that PICO 4 VR users can quickly adapt to the related operations of PICO 4 Pro VR. Since some readers may not have used PICO 4, here is a brief introduction to the important configuration parameters of PICO 4 Pro.

The VR headset uses dual 2.56-inch display screens with a single-eye resolution of 2160*2160, which can achieve 4K+ resolution for both eyes. The PPI has reached 1200 and supports a refresh rate of up to 90Hz. The processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, which supports 6DoF high-precision positioning system. The battery capacity of PICO 4 Pro is 6070mAh, which is improved to a certain extent compared with PICO 4. The storage capacity has been increased to 512GB, so more VR games and video resources can be installed.


Functional Experience

Compared with the inheritance of appearance configuration and operation, the biggest upgrade of PICO 4 Pro lies in eye tracking, facial expression capture and intelligent interpupillary distance adjustment functions. Therefore, the functional experience has been further improved. Next, let’s take a look at these new functions of PICO 4 Pro.

If you look closely at the screen area of PICO 4 Pro, you will find three cameras extending outward. The cameras on the left and right sides can be used for eye tracking – that is, tracking the rotation and direction of the eyeball. The camera at the bottom can realize the function of facial expression capture.

Automatic Pupil Distance Adjustment

In the past, after wearing a VR headset, the interpupillary distance of the eyes needs to be adjusted by ourselves. Now, because the eye tracking camera of PICO 4 Pro can track our eyeballs and pupils, we only need to keep our eyes on the green dot on the screen to move, and the interpupillary distance adjustment will be completed automatically. The setting error does not exceed 1.5mm, and the efficiency is much higher than manual adjustment. The VR headset also supports the interpupillary distance memory function, so even if multiple players wear and use the VR headset, there is no need to repeatedly adjust the interpupillary distance. After the initial setup is completed, it can be used directly later.

Facial Expression Capture

In the creation of virtual characters, we can synchronize our expressions with the virtual characters in the VR headset. When the eyeball turns to the left, the virtual character’s eyeball also turns to the left. When you blink, the virtual character will do the same thing, and opening your mouth, closing your mouth, and sticking out your tongue can make the virtual character follow your actions. Some are similar to iPhone emoji expressions.

Facial Expression Capture (PICO Avatar)

But unfortunately, so far, the expression of sticking out the tongue can only make the tongue stick straight ahead. It is hoped that the follow-up PICO can make the movements of facial expressions more precise, so as to perfectly restore and synchronize the user’s facial expressions.

Eye Tracking Function

Eye Tracking (Demo)

Eye tracking is also the gaze interaction function of the eyes – it is especially obvious in the game. Wherever our eyes look, the elf in the game will float there. The whole game process is very immersive due to the strong sense of interaction.

In fact, this function is not only used in games, but also in medical treatment, rehabilitation, training and design. Subsequent PICO 4 Pro will also add eye-tracking rendering functions in multiple applications-that is, the area where the eyes are focused is clear, and other areas will become blurred. After adding this function, since a large number of images do not need to perform clear image calculations, the frame rate of the application can be increased and the GPU usage rate can be reduced. Moreover, it can also show a sense of picture similar to dynamic blur, which not only enhances the game immersion experience, but also makes the game experience smoother.

Other Functions

In addition to the eye tracking and facial expression capture functions, PICO 4 Pro’s mobile screen projection function and the vibration feedback of the remote controller have also been optimized. In the screen projection settings, click to open the projection to the mobile phone, and enter the screen projection code in the PICO VR APP to complete the pairing. At that time, you can use your mobile phone to see the screen of wearing the VR headset, and you can guide it more intuitively.

The handle has a built-in 50-500Hz broadband linear motor. The broadband motor already supports a variety of games, and the realistic vibration feedback can further enhance the gaming experience. At present, after the latest version upgrade, the handle vibration feedback has also been covered at the system level. Provide appropriate vibration feedback when interacting with system applications, giving users a sense of control and improving user experience.

PICO 4 Pro supports color see-through display, combined with the AI-assisted spatial calibration function, it can realize MR spatial applications. At present, a “MR Space” experience DEMO has been launched in the content library. In the DEMO, we can pick up a virtual pen to draw, and we can also pick up a virtual gun to shoot monsters.


Conclusion

The upgrade of PICO 4 Pro focuses on the application experience areas of eye tracking and facial expression capture. The hardware configuration mainly adds eye tracking and facial expression capture cameras, and improves battery life and storage capacity. Although there are not many hardware upgrades, the immersive experience has been greatly improved. If you pay more attention to interactive experience, PICO 4 Pro will let you understand why it is “Pro”.


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