Facebook Wants to Take Your Home Office Into Virtual Reality

An Oculus Quest in front of a Logitech ergonomic keyboard.Josh Hendrickson

Ask five people how many monitors you need and you will likely get six answers. Much of the final answer comes down to the budget. What if you could have as many screens as you want without having to buy them? Facebook first work on a home office in virtual reality could give you just that.

Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, manager of augmented reality and virtual reality on Facebook, presented an early concept of home office in mixed reality. Currently, if you want, you can put on a VR headset, shoot a few virtual monitors, and type on a keyboard. If you are a touch typist, it would probably work quite well.

These are real sequences using prototype helmets. We are still experimenting with future concepts using different hardware configurations as part of our proof of experience process.

– Boz (@boztank) May 21, 2020

But it’s not perfect, because you can’t see your office or your surroundings. So you can always come across things and you cannot see the dew of the mountains that you put on your desk.

The concept of Facebook seeks to solve this problem. It uses the passthrough functionality, found on the Oculus Quest, to show your surroundings. So you can see your desk, your keyboard, your and everything in your desk.

Usually, the passthrough disables the virtual reality interface. In the conceptual Facebook video, this is not the case. While you can see your keyboard and desktop, you also get virtual monitors and hand and keyboard overlays so you can work on virtual touch controls.

Boz notes that although the video is an actual sequence, it uses prototype material. This fact should be obvious to anyone who has tried the Oculus Quest hand tracking, which is not as accurate as the video’s hand tracking.

And anyone who has tried to create a home office in virtual reality will probably point out an additional problem not addressed in the concept: comfort. Virtual reality headsets become more comfortable, but they always hug your face and are not something you would want to wear for an eight-hour shift. It would leave your face hot and sweaty and hurt your neck.

Right now, this is an early concept. We’ll have to wait to see if Facebook can fix these problems and virtually reinvent the wheel – or the home office.

via The edge


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