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’ll likely get six answers. A lot of the final answer does come down to budget. But what if you could have as many monitors as you wanted without having to buy them? Facebook’s early work on a virtual reality home office could give you just that.

Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s head of AR and VR showed off an early concept of a mixed reality home office. Currently, if you want, you could don a VR headset, pull up some virtual monitors, and blind type on a keyboard. If you’re a touch typist, it would probably work well enough.

But it’s not perfect, because you can’t see your desk or your surroundings. So you can still bump into things, and you can’t see that mountain dew you put on your desk.

Facebook’s concept seeks to solve that problem. It uses the passthrough functionality, as found on the Oculus Quest, to show your surrounding. So you can see your desk, your keyboard, your and everything else in your office.

Usually, passthrough disables the virtual reality interface. In Facebook’s concept video, that’s not the case. While you can see your keyboard and desk, you also get virtual monitors and hand and keyboard overlays so you can work virtual touch controls.

Boz notes that while the video is real footage, it uses prototype hardware. That fact should be evident to anyone who has tried the Oculus Quest’s hand tracking, which isn’t nearly as accurate as the video’s hand tracking.

And anyone who has tried to create a VR home office will likely point out an additional issue not addressed in the concept—comfort. VR headsets are getting more comfortable, but they still hug your face tightly and aren’t something you’d want to wear for an eight-hour shift. That would leave your face hot and sweaty, and give you a neck ache.

Right now, this is an early concept. We’ll have to wait to see if Facebook can solve those issues and virtually reinvent the wheel—or the home office.

via The Verge

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