I am here at the sixth annual Facebook Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, also known as OC6. It’s interesting for me, being a person primarily interested in physically co-located experiences, to attend a conference that is focused on people who are using VR to communicate at a distance.

The goals are very different, yet the enabling technologies have a large amount of overlap. The Oculus Quest headset was designed mainly for people who are not in the same location as the people they are interacting with. Yet it turns out to be a really great device for co-located shared immersive experiences.

I was very happy to see that they are finally integrating hand and finger recognition into the Quest. It’s a technology that has been around for quite a while, but it wasn’t available until now on consumer level VR headsets.

I also learned about their vision of the shared future. There is a forthcoming product called Horizon which will allow people to hang out together in a shared virtual world, and even build elements of that world for themselves. It’s sort of like if High Fidelity were not open source.

But here’s the thing: Because the VR sensors can only track your head and hands, the system has no idea what is going on below your waist. In other words, they can only reconstruct your body pose from the waist up.

I find this to be problematic. Even though I understand that there is something profoundly powerful about people across the world being able to share a sense of physical presence.

Alas, it seems that in the future, we will all be hanging out in a world where nobody is wearing pants.

2 Responses to “OC6”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    Somewhat off topic: Have you had a chance to look at the TiltFive prototype? This seems like a really interesting approach to AR, with much better (and cheaper!) results than the MagicLeap/Holo Lens approach.


  2. admin says:

    I am a big fan of Jeri Ellsworth. We tried TiltFive’s latest tech about a year ago, and it really does work as advertised.

    The tradeoff is that you can’t use it for AR that floats in the air between people.

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