Some people are already using Quest 3's passthrough in some surprising ways, and posting recordings on social media.
Quest 3 isn't the first headset to ship with color real world passthrough. But unlike Quest Pro the camera resolution is good enough to see details, and unlike Pico 4 and Vive XR Elite it's depth-correct so won't make you feel queasy.
While we criticized the issues with Quest 3's passthrough in our review, it nonetheless is still arguably the first passthrough you'd want to spend more than a few minutes in. For a few people it even seems to have crossed the threshold where they now want to use it in their daily lives, while others are already using it for attention-grabbing stunts.
Developer Tassilo von Gerlach cooked chicken soup in Quest 3 passthrough. He used an iPad and ChatGPT's new image analysis features to get a custom recipe based on the ingredients he had, and then kept that recipe open in a Quest virtual browser window while watching a YouTube video in another.
Puzzling Places technical artist Shahriar Shahrabi used the passthrough to simply watch YouTube videos in the browser while vacuuming, doing the dishes, and dusting.
Having a YouTube video follow you around while doing chores seems like an ideal use case for XR, and may even become a mainstream activity as mixed reality headsets get better and cheaper.
Meanwhile, reverse engineering enthusiast Shiny Quagsire playfully poked fun at the trend by playing a subway surfers video while cooking in his kitchen. The mobile game is used in memes and jokes mocking the inability of many people today to focus without constant stimulation - short videos on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube often place it alongside other content to keep the viewer's attention.
YouTuber Brad Lynch, known as SadlyItsBradley, took the Quest 3 passthrough trend outdoors and added danger to the mix. Cycling home in a Quest 3 is an incredibly unsafe idea and you definitely should not try this yourself, especially without a helmet, but on launch day he posted a video of himself on a bicycle, evading the system popup telling him to create a boundary which "chased" him along the road, repositioning every few seconds.
In the most widely shared stunt yet, former XR developer Cix Liv, an outspoken critic of Meta, wore his Quest 3 into a San Francisco coffee shop while holding a virtual browser window displaying its menu.
The Verge spoke to the co-owner who described the event as just “a stunt for laughs and giggles", but the barista did not look amused as he ordered.
The ability to spawn arbitrary virtual browser windows and apps in your space could for many regular people actually be a more appealing use case than immersive VR or mixed reality gaming, as it adds to their daily life rather than being a separate activity.
For now this is mainly being done by developers and enthusiastic early adopters, as the limiting factors are the comfort of the headset and the quality of the passthrough. But as slimmer and lighter headsets with higher quality passthrough arrive in coming years, could we see passthrough AR become a part of millions of people's daily lives by the end of the decade?