Is this the future of VR? Social interaction in a virtual society


(Pocket-lint) – In 2020, we reported that Peter Chou, the former CEO and co-founder of HTC, was working on a new virtual reality headset.

Known as the XRSpace Manova, this new headset was designed to bring virtual reality to the masses, but with a difference.

Rather than being focused on games like the HTC Vive or business like Microsoft Hololens, the Manova was designed to bring people together, socially and in virtual reality.

The idea here is to create a device that is not only attractive to the masses, but also helps people connect, collaborate, and come together in the virtual world.

The first part of this puzzle is an unconnected, 5G powered, hand-tracking virtual reality headset that is easy to take and use for everyone. The second part is an immersive virtual world that offers social experiences suitable for everyone.

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Is this the future of virtual reality?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where we’re all stuck at home all the time unable to see people, the idea of ​​a society-focused VR headset is appealing.

We have already seen some social elements in previous VR headsets. Where you can get together to watch Netflix in VR with your friends or meet virtual avatars and even meet strangers from all over the world in VRChat. But where other headsets engage in this social interaction, XRSpace Manova makes it the primary focus.

Put on the headset and you step into a virtual world with public and private spaces to explore. Yes, there is the classic virtual house which you can customize to your personal taste and invite people to chat privately, but there are also public spaces including downtown, beach, amusement park, nightclub, etc.

At these locations, you can participate in various social activities and experiences or just meet friends to stay in touch without having to leave home.

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We were shown around these different locations and demonstrated to us the potential use cases when we visited each location. And it’s once you’ve seen the possibilities that you realize the potential for the future of virtual reality.

After selecting the location on a virtual map, we ended up in a nightclub, with music and bots chatting happily with each other.

Here people could meet for a virtual drink, dance or just hang out. A simple idea but easy to access and welcome when you can’t go out in a real pub.

Upon leaving the club, we teleported to a virtual classroom where we were shown how a virtual speaker could give a presentation on a large virtual screen. This presentation is designed to be user-friendly, as presenters can simply upload files from their Google Drive account and show them to a captive audience.

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This virtual classroom can also be divided into separate teaching areas, where users can come together for team discussions, presentations or smaller discussions and in private mode where groups also do not interfere with each other. others.

Later we were in a movie theater watching 2D and 360 degree video content. Any footage you have on your device is potentially viewable this way, both alone and with friends. The company is also working with local telecommunications companies to allow users to watch content from Netflix and other streaming platforms in the future as well.

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These experiences were just a taste of the potential applications of XRSpace Manova and what it could offer. The various virtual environments could be easily used for commercial applications in various ways.

A real estate agent could offer 360-degree virtual tours of a home without potential buyers having to leave their homes. Likewise, users could get a taste of what a chosen vacation destination might look like with a virtual experience that would give a much more accurate representation of the location than what you would get by just looking at photos on a site. Web.

For education, XRSpace Manova can also be used in several ways. Not just virtual classrooms, but guided virtual tours of historical exhibits, educational art exhibits, keynote speaker presentations and much more.

We were also shown the possibility of virtual exhibitions. With virtual locations where exhibitors could show their products or business offerings to an interested audience who didn’t have to worry about the costs and hassle of international travel to attend such an event in the real world.

For the average user, there are also many other experiences. There is a regular schedule with events that people can attend and ‘digital wellness’ experiences available through MagicLOHAS which offers virtual tai chi activities, body stretching exercises, yoga, aerobics, cycling and more in the world of virtual reality.

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User-friendly helmet design

We focused on the experience of using XRSpace Manova, as that is the main focus of this new headset – the social experience. But of course, the hardware matters too.

The XRSpace Manova headset is a mobile device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, with 6 GB of RAM, 5G connectivity, LTE and Wi-Fi. It is wireless, without the need to be connected to a PC.

It’s also designed to work without controllers for the most part, with intuitive gesture-based controls you can use with your hands. There are trackers that can be added to the system to track the movement of the whole body for activities such as sports activities, but otherwise it will allow you to easily walk and navigate around the world.

By attaching the XRSpace Manova headset, you put into the body of a personalized virtual avatar that not only has a movable mouth to match your speech, but is also able to shake hands with people, five other users, greet and even more.

The design of the headset is cleverly thought out, with a comfortable fit, a cooling fan to keep it in good working order, and a noise-canceling mic so you can always be heard clearly.

It can also be plugged in and used while charging, so you can keep using it for longer.

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Is this the future?

We were impressed with what we saw from XRSpace Manova and we can see the potential use cases for it and how it could be a great way to easily meet people from all over the world.

It’s easy to see where the XRSpace Manova will shine: educational uses, social experiences, business and workplace applications. All of them are equally valid and interesting in many ways. If the schools are closed, the XRSpace Manova could be used for distance learning. Home workers could also use XRSpace Manova to collaborate more easily with colleagues and clients. Businesses could also use the device to demonstrate and sell products and services remotely. The possibilities are almost endless.

That said, XRSpace Manova can be a tough sell for a mass market. Especially by breaking with the norm of devices like the Oculus Quest range where the game is the main aspect of the experience. The XRSpace Manova headset offers very few games except for a handful of casual games like Angry Birds and more about social engagement and experiences with others.

If you miss being with people, this could be a smart buy – assuming all of your friends and family have one of course. But if you want something to escape the monotony of reality, maybe it isn’t.

Either way, the future is interesting. Learn more about XRSpace Manova here.

Written by Adrian Willings. Originally published on .

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