Quest Workspace App Immersed Lets You Bring Real Keyboard into Virtual Office
Oculus Quest’s virtual workspace app Immersed now allows you to bring your real keyboard into the virtual environment.
Immersed is a virtual collaboration app that enables you and your team to connect your monitors into a shared virtual workspace. The app allows you to have to up to five extra virtual monitors into the workspace, a feat that was previously deemed performantly infeasible with Windows OS. It costs $15 per month per person for a team of up to four users. For larger teams, the cost is $30 per month per person.
Immersed also has a free version for solo use which is limited to a single additional virtual monitor.
The Oculus Quest headsets already have a built-in and a controller-free hand tracking functionality. With Immersed, you can hold down specific keys using your right index fingers to place a virtual keyboard in the same relative position. Doing this involves awkwardly peering through the nose gap as developers are still unable to show the passthrough mode.
This is a manual calibration and the user will still needs to recalibrate if they change their Guardian safety boundaries or move the position of the keyboard. It leverages the preset keyboard model such that the non-alphanumeric keys will not precisely line up unless the user’s keyboard matches the model.
Apart from those minor issues, this model delivers the best typing experience that you can get in a publicly available virtual reality app. The user will see not only the keyboard but also their hands and as a result, they no longer need to touch type. Using this with the a fairly powerful headset such as the Quest 2, you could easily immerse yourself in Immersed and do meaningful work in the virtual environment for hours. With the virtual monitors feature, you get the kind of infinite workspace that we typically see only in science fiction.
Immersed founder Renji Bijoy posted a demonstration on Reddit showing the typing of 164 words per minute that uses the new feature. This is approximately four times the average typing speed. Bijoy stated that this was roughly the same as his typing speed outside virtual reality.
Some of the leading industry players such as Facebook and HTC have pitched virtual reality as a long-term future replacement for physical offices. Making full-speed text entry possible is requisite to realizing this goal. There is currently frenzied research and exploration for a VR-native way of typing in the virtual environment but for the shorter term, it would be more practical to bring the physical keyboards that people are already familiar with and know how to use into virtual reality.
Facebook is also planning to ship experimental system-level support for a Logitech keyboard later in the year through the use of computer vision. This keyboard wouldn’t need manual calibration and will be able to match the precise key layout. They keyboard will cost $60. For the time being, you can now use Immersed with any of your physical keyboards.