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Interact With A Computer in VR For An Entire Week – Lessons Learned

Interact With A Computer in VR For An Entire Week – Lessons Learned

What do you get when you have a team of 16 people interact with a computer in VR for an entire week using their Oculus Rifts? A whole lot of ideas on the future of work and one excited workforce.

The old adage that a company needs to “dogfood” their own product has been around for ages. It was with this idea that our CEO, Richard Platt, got the team together a few weeks ago and challenged us to spend as much time as possible working inside of VR. The goal was to work ALL WEEK in the vSpatial application eating our own dogfood.

It was a wonderful experiment on so many levels. Most of us spent upwards of 30 hours working in the vSpatial app. On Friday we had a company-wide meeting where we went over all the things that worked well and the things that didn’t work well. Here is a summary of a few things we learned!


Anytime you strap something to your face for hours on end you are going to have to think about comfort.  Especially something as immersive as a VR headse to tinteract with a computer in VR.

First, the good.  We were able to interact with a computer in VR for an entire week without getting motion sickness. The framerate (which is the primary cause of motion sickness) is great with the Oculus. We are all big VR users so we already had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

That being said, the #1 concern was comfort.  Everyone had their own little tricks and ways to make it work.  A few folks invested in some VR covers.  Those seemed to help. Others fine-tuned the adjustments to the straps on the Oculus headset so that instead of pushing against the face, it really sat on top of your head.

ProTip: Most folks have their headsets strapped tight for gaming and other high movement activities.  This is not necessary for productivity in VR. When you are working in VR you just need to have it sit on top of your head and in place. Try tightening the top strap so it rests on top of your head instead of pulling it against your face.

Health and Safety

If you are going to spend a ton of time in VR it is easy to get immersed and forget you have the headset on.  This makes it especially strange when you take it off at the end of the day. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are going to work in VR for an extended period of time.

  • It is a good idea to set some alarms to go for a walk in the real world and talk with folks near you a few times a day. It does wonders for your productivity as well.
  • vSpatial has a “Privacy Camera” that allows you to see the environment around you. This is fantastic for keeping an eye on your surroundings and for finding things like your keyboard and drink.
  • Speaking of nourishment, it’s a good idea to have a drink nearby. A cup with a straw is super helpful. Make sure it has a lid and is always in the same place to help minimize accidental spills.
  • Change your environment to keep it real. With screens all around you can forget to stop and smell the roses. Change your background. Go into focus mode in a video conference so you can feel like you are with others and not isolate yourself.

Input Devices To Interact with A Computer in VR

Right now, to interact with a computer in VR you are limited by the input devices that are available for the Oculus. During the week we tried a variety of ways to type and interact with our spaces. We are all computer savvy so we are used to working with a keyboard and a mouse.  Transitioning to this new environment meant that we had to rethink how we worked a little bit and find creative ways to type. Here are a few things we tried.

  • Virtual Keyboard – vSpatial has a spiffy virtual keyboard. At the time we only supported single controller typing. We corrected that one really quick so now you can type with two hands and that is a significant improvement. It’s like typing on a mobile device with your thumbs. It works well for doing simple things like typing in URL’s or quick replies to messages. It was not great for coding or anything more involved. We found it especially hard to not have keyboard shortcuts.
  • Physical Keyboard in Virtual Space – We found that the best thing for most of us was to use the real keyboard. We like the wireless ones that allow you to sit back in your chair, or put it on your lap with your feet on the desk. We’d keep our touch controllers nearby for pointing, but you could do quite a bit with just your keyboard.Keyboard Tip: Did you know that while you are wearing your Oculus headset you look down toward your nose you can see your hands.  It’s not noticeable normally, but if you need to find a key quickly to orient yourself it’s a lifesaver.
  • Voice Dictation – We tried a number of programs to help with voice dictation. Cortana was okay. The best for us was Dragon Speak where you could dictate entire emails and messages quickly… even faster than we could type them.

In the end we were able to find quite a few good ways to type and get work done.  Now and again we all took our headsets off, but for the most part it was not because of a problem with the input devices. We think that the eventual solution to typing in virtual reality is going to be an advance in innovation to all three of these categories.

Overall Conclusion

Overall the experiment was very eye-opening for us.  Some are skeptical to interact with a computer in VR for an extended period of time, but that was certainly not the case for us. We learned a lot about our product and got a lot of ideas for the future. We have quite a few things in store and can’t wait to help you be more productive than you’ve ever been before!

Anyone else tried working in vSpatial for an entire day?

Have you ever tried to interact with a computer in VR for an extended period?  Any tips to share with us?  Tag #vSpatial on facebook with the tag #VRProductivity.

vSpatial Launches Free Virtual Reality Workspace

vSpatial Launches Free Virtual Reality Workspace

vSpatial Launches Free Virtual Reality Workspace

vSpatial’s goal is to redefine our workspaces and how we get work done. The day will come when we will all work remotely in virtual spaces that not only make us more productive, but bring us together like never before. The first step toward that reality is to create a space where we can work with the productivity applications we use now and start to take advantage of virtual space.

“The extended virtual reality space allows users to not only be more productive, but also make the computing experience more enjoyable and more natural.”

vSpatial, a Provo, Utah based startup, released the first public version of their virtual reality workspace on Thursday, October 19th, 2017. This free VR application is the first iteration of a plan to help transform the work environment to a virtual reality landscape. Users are given their own personal space in virtual reality where they can connect with their computer and do things like check email, run Photoshop, watch videos and anything else you’d do on a computer.The difference is that the information is all around you instead of on a monitor.

Richard Platt, the CEO of vSpatial and longtime communications expert in the technology industry, explains the product this way: “With VR, we are no longer limited to what we can see on 2D screens and monitors. We can now create full virtual workspaces that allow us to utilize the entire area around us. This expanded space allows us to not only be more productive, but also make the computing experience more enjoyable and more natural.”

This first public release is focused on personal productivity and has three major features to help users get work done:

1) Infinite Screen Carousel: In a major breakthrough in virtual reality computer applications, users can now open up infinite computer applications directly in VR. Multiple-monitor setups are no longer needed with our screen carousel. Open, modify, interact, and view any application from your desktop inside our personal workspace. Your room is set up for you automatically with your open applications.

  •      Organize and order your screens quickly and easily
  •      Navigate to any additional files you need
  •      Set the views that work best for you

2) Dynamic Input & Control: All the control in one place. Place it where you want, call it to you or leave it docked. It’s up to you.

  •      Full keyboard dual input
  •      Resize windows
  •      Interactive help
  •      View full desktop
  •      Open and close apps
  •      Provide feedback
  •      Customize your view: Re-center & background
  •      File/Program navigation via the vNavigator

3) Flexible Interaction Options: Experience maximum productivity with our various options to interact with your work. Interact with your applications, data, and content, however, best suits your needs. Focus mode lets you get upfront and personal. With only one screen visible, you are free from distractions. You are the one in control with the options to bring the screen as close as you like or extend out to get the full view. Three levels of zoom. With a simple click of a button, you can zoom in 2 additional levels in both focus & carousel mode. This allows for optimal use and readability.

The application can be downloaded now on the Oculus store by searching for vSpatial in the Application store or by going here: Additional VR device capability will be launched in the future.

Get Work Done Like Never Before – Productivity in Virtual Reality

Get Work Done Like Never Before – Productivity in Virtual Reality

Get Work Done Like Never Before – Productivity in Virtual Reality

Computers have been essentially the same for 30 years. We live in windows and are limited by the screens we have around us and our proficiency with them. That is no longer the case. With VR, we can now have unlimited screens and interact with our files and information in a much more natural way.

Enjoy a recording of our first ever webinar about the different applications that are being built right now in VR/AR focused on productivity. We talk about what exists and where we are going with Virtual Reality. We also talk about keyboards, devices and other input in virtual space.

Check it out, and let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!




Education is Being Transformed by VR

Education is Being Transformed by VR

Education is Being Transformed by VR

I was fascinated the other day as I watched this video about why all maps are wrong. If you look at the description it says “Making accurate world maps is mathematically impossible.” All I could think was… well, it’s not impossible in virtual reality. Virtual reality mapping allows for the correct sizing, accurate latitude and longitude and dimension right now using Google Earth VR.

Not only can they see an accurate map of the world, but more than that they can interact with the world. Students can zoom in and out and explore. Virtual reality gives them an experience, instead of a lesson. In virtual reality students can be immediately engaged in an individual experience that helps them not only learn, but allows them to build their interest in a personal way.

There are many people talking about how education is being transformed by VR. Teachers and administrators are realizing the power virtual reality can have on their students learning. On Twitter, educators are using the hashtags #ARVRinEDU and #VREDUchat to discuss the uses of VR in education and new stuff comes up every day.

Right now, most educators are developing stand alone applications that are focused on allowing students individual experiences with things that we couldn’t do in real lift like outer space or, my personal favorite, the inside of the body. I can’t wait to see what other things come of this work.


Figure 1: Picture of DNA cell in The Body VR

Virtual Learning WorkSpace

It is a shame that after all this immersive learning is happening students take off their headsets and go back to a 2D computer to write about them. How much better would it be if students were having these experiences and then analyzing and internalizing it in an immersive learning workspace that took advantage of that virtual space all around them?

vSpatial is an immersive workspace to get work done, especially if your work is learning right now. In our initial release we are focused on allowing students the opportunity to open screens all around them. When doing research and writing, I often have many tabs open, but I loose things. With a virtual learning window for each tab, they can have the data all around them to analyze and write about.


Students will be able to also browse through their computer in virtual reality space and open up documents and other files directly in VR. We are gradually adding support for more and more file types and expect to be able to support immersive media in the future. Teachers will be able to have students log into their learning portal like Blackboard and run files directly in a learning environment and build out their own immersive learning experiences for them.

VR also opens up the world for collaboration like never before. We were all enamored when we could video conference with students on the other side of the world. Imagine if we can be in the same classroom together pointing and things and interacting with one another.

We are very excited for the future and what VR can bring to the education market. How do you think you could use vSpatial and other VR apps for your classroom? Let us know on social media!


A VR Argument for Multiple Screens & Productivity

A VR Argument for Multiple Screens & Productivity

A VR Argument for Multiple Screens & Productivity

Back when I was in school I remember getting a second monitor to work with and I felt like a KING! I could get SO much more done.  Little did I realize that I was setting myself up for a life that required multiple monitors to get anything done.

Now a days whenever I find myself on a laptop, or even worse a cell phone, I am pretty much limited to checking email, social media, and maybe the news.  Any “real” work really requires that I have multiple monitors to reference tasks as I’m working on and other information.  It is almost impossible for me to really get anything done with a single monitor or a small device.

I am not alone in my quirkiness.  I have a good friend who recently updated his office to include, no joke, 8 monitors.  He says that he could use 3 more as well but his boss has said he will no longer support his monitor addiction. With more and more of our work being moved to applications we find ourselves staring at computer screens ALL day long.  And many of us like my friend find it useful to have multiple monitors for each and every application..

This got me thinking… is there really a correlation between how many monitors you have and productivity or does it just drop off after a certain number?  We did a little research and found a few interesting studies and tidbits.

Data published an in-depth article titled “Increasing Productivity: How Dual Monitors Can Save You Time and Money” that has some great research.  In it the author explains how “dual monitors have been proven to increase productivity by 20-30 percent.” This increase in productivity comes from data entry, viewing large files, keeping a live chat open while a project is being discussed, monitoring social media, or even having some background news on. “It takes about 1.5 seconds to move your mouse and click to switch between documents. After double clicking, the average delay time for the next document to open is 0.5 seconds, totally in about 2 seconds. If you need five numbers from each source document for your report, a second monitor would save you 66 seconds each time you compile your weekly report.”

With the gradual move to paperless solutions offices almost require a second monitor to review electronic documents while working.  For example, an accountant may use multiple monitors for preparing taxes while looking at a client’s tax information.

VR and Multiple Monitors

So what does this all have to do with VR?  Right now in the market there are a handful of applications that allow you to control your desktop. This is a great start, but these applications are all still just using windows and limited to the physical hardware you have attached to your computer.  Not any more effective, and certainly expensive.

vSpatial is not interested in monitors and desktops, but in the applications you run on your computer.  We allow you to open as many applications as you want and use the virtual space all around you to view and interact with those application.  In essence, vSpatial allows you to have a monitor or “screen” for every window.  You can make screens larger or smaller and move them around based on your needs.  We are spending a lot of time thinking about how users work and how we can take advantage of space to get work done now.

What this means is that you can run vSpatial from a small laptop but feel like you have dozens of screens to use as you work.  Our goal is to save you tons of time and money.

We are getting ready to launch our public beta in a few weeks.  Stay tuned and give it a try yourself.  I think you are going to be amazed once you get in there and see the potential of virtual reality space for productivity.



Combat Remote Work Distractions with VR

Combat Remote Work Distractions with VR

Combat Remote Work Distractions with VR

Company deadlines, budget discussions, and strategy meetings cannot wait. Whether you are a remote team, or a company who relies on video and phone conferences often, meetings are important, no matter the form.

Phone and video conferencing however, comes with its own set of issues, including distractions. It is easy to mute or minimize long enough to scroll through social media, check your email or finish that last level of Candy Crush, while completely missing what information is being discussed.

But don’t worry, there is a new way to keep your team alert and engaged in the conversation. Virtual reality allows for a hyper-focused environment that can become just like your office.  vSpatial, a virtual reality app, provides a productivity-based environment to help maximize your time.


The Problem with Phone and Video Conferencing

The problem with phone and video conferencing rests in its inability to fully immerse you, regardless of your current environment. At home, you might see the laundry piling up in the corner or that tempting new magazine issue on the table.  Your meeting has to compete with a lot going on in the background and most times it loses the battle raging for your attention.

In addition, phone and video conferencing can be set to the side or even muted.  All without the other parties knowing what is happening on the other side of the screen. The brain is occupied elsewhere as other desktop windows take precedence.  This is not the best solution for successful business meetings.  However, with the use of virtual reality, the meeting experience is immersive by nature.


The Solution

Virtual reality allows for your team to engage with one another, as if they are in the same room.  Your team members will become less sidetracked with other tasks, thanks to the many tools VR has in place.

VR uses real-time tracking and monitoring, no matter where you are during the meeting. If you disappear from the conversation, your virtual self does too. It is as if you have walked out of the office door, leaving your partners in the dust.

Virtual reality is the place for engagement and sharing. When using a virtual device, whether a headset or another piece of technology, it is almost impossible to do something else at the same time. VR headsets will require your team’s full attention.

Keeping distractions at bay is just one of the many benefits of professional work in a virtual space.  You can combat distraction by trying VR out with your team, whether remotely or on site.