Oculus Aims To Replace Your Work Desktop With A VR Headset
Facebook's VR division has created software for business use that it believes will someday supersede the desktop computer
Facebook recently hosted its annual event for its Oculus VR division, and with it came some new and improved consumer products, like the Oculus Go headset. Priced at $200, the headset doesn’t need a specialized PC to operate, unlike its predecessor.
But if you want to enjoy a VR headset while at work, you’ll be more interested in the Oculus Dash software that’s designed for people who spend all day at a desk. It transforms the typical desk setup with a laptop or desktop monitor into a virtual reality dashboard that you can interact with physically.
Nate Mitchell, head of Rift, said that the goal of producing such a device was to create a virtual reality device that makes it possible to work without a computer screen. “As hardware improves, we’re on the path to replace traditional monitors entirely,” Mitchell stated during the on-stage portion of the event, according to Co.Design.
Oculus wants to become “an all-in-one solution for businesses looking to integrate VR for workplace training, collaboration, retail sales, and much more.”
This is the very first Oculus Rift headset that’s designed specifically for businesses. The entire set comes in a bundle costing $900. The kit features the headset, three room sensors, Oculus Touch Controllers, an Oculus remote and three Rift fits. The purchase includes the commercial use license, extended warranty, and extra customer service and IT to facilitate the smooth use of this product.
If you’re thinking that the VR desktop will be a flatland application, think again. The navigation bar will float in 3D-style animation at waist height. Then, it will project a copy of a physical monitor onto your desk where you can swipe between apps, type reports, drag and drop files, and use your hands to more quickly and easily accomplish the work of a computer mouse.
The designers wanted to make all normal desktop apps that work on Windows available for this new platform. That part of it makes sense, since you can accomplish most functions within an app simply by touching or dragging and dropping. What isn’t so clear is how a person is supposed to type, access functions like they would with the right click of their mouse, open links and perform other basic tasks.
There’s also the ergonomics. The interface is customizable according to your height, but there’s no guaranteeing that people will put the dashboard at the right height when using the headset on their own. When you have a large headset on your head for hours at a time, there’s also no stopping the neck, back and head pain that are certain to follow.
Here’s the ultimate question for business leaders: Will the purchase of VR headsets really improve productivity around the office? Companies need to know that their investment will take their company places rather than drag it down, especially if they’re spending nearly a grand per set.
Lead Image: Businessman using Oculus in office via Shutterstock