Image: Stephen Rogers
A VR developer just showed a new concept for staying in touch with friends and co-workers, a virtual portal that connects your space to theirs.
While Meta wants to transport everyone to Horizon Worlds for chats with friends and collect teams in Horizon Workrooms for business meetings, a VR developer envisions a new paradigm for casual communication that looks more inviting and natural.
Stephen Rogers is a VR developer with BrushWorkVR and the creator of the mixed reality, roller coaster construction game, CoasterMania, available for the Quest 2 and Quest Pro via Meta’s AppLab.
Rogers dreamed up a new way to interact in VR that feels more like the way people hang out with co-workers or roommates. Each person is in their own space, doing their own thing, but a connected wall, enabled by a portal, makes it easy to glance over and chat.
It’s even possible to pass virtual objects back and forth, as shown in a Twitter video Rogers posted recently. This is just a prototype but with enough encouragement, the developer might flesh out the idea further.
Rogers used Meta’s Presence Platform to create the prototype. In the connected virtual room, furniture becomes 3D objects, and the other person is in avatar form.
Hangouts and meetings in VR
For most VR meetings and chats, you must “travel” to a virtual world or room to interact with others. That can be entertaining. Some of the best get-togethers happen around a friendly game. Walkabout Mini Golf and Gym Class, for example, provide comfortable and interesting places to hang out with friends while doing something fun.
Horizon Worlds is improving but has yet to find success. For office meetings, Horizon Workrooms, with its shared virtual whiteboard and a few rooms to choose from, is okay for focused discussions but not conducive to daily work interactions.
Apple’s Vision Pro recreates the FaceTime experience with floating windows. The large virtual windows take advantage of the Vision Pro’s crisp displays, but the view is disappointingly flat, with few advantages over a Zoom meeting on a computer monitor.
Rogers also posted the Shared Wall MR prototype on Reddit, where it has proven to be a popular video. It’s not available to try, but I reviewed a mixed reality game called House Defender that uses a similar connected room concept to allow players to join forces with a shared fence to battle creatures in a spooky graveyard.
Now is the perfect time for VR developers and manufacturers to begin thinking outside the box with solutions that push mixed reality experiences to new levels and prepare for the next generation of AR headsets and glasses that will make mixed reality practical for all-day use.
Imagine connecting several households or office spaces so you can glance over at your virtual neighbor throughout the day. Distant friends and family would seem much closer if you could share an invisible wall. For long-distance relationships, this could one day be an absolute game changer.