Spatial Deploys Full-Body Avatars so you can buy Fashionable NFTs for Them

Spatial may have begun as a remote collaboration platform but in December it announced a total company shift towards Web3, hosting NFT exhibitions, brand experiences and more metaverse oriented events. In another step towards that goal, Spatial has announced the deployment of Ready Player Me’s full-body avatars, giving its users greater customisation options and creators new ways to monetize the platform.

Image credit: Spatial

Ready Player Me avatars are some of the most advanced when it comes to customisation and cross-compatibility as they’re already being used in virtual reality (VR) apps like VRChat and Somnium Space. Spatial’s original avatars were floating torsos combined with a 3D version of a user’s head, created from a selfie image. Depending on the pic this could work okay or look downright weird.

Integrating Reay Player Me avatars not only gives its users a far more natural-looking body but also opens up the possibilities for creative expression – Spatial’s photorealistic avatars are now full-body as well. With plans to premier culturally relevant clothing such as hijabs and saris, Spatial will also roll out non-binary avatars customisations.

“Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen so many use cases that have both inspired and surprised us in equal measure. Together, we are creating a world online where you can almost do it all!” said Jacob Loewenstein, Head of Growth at Spatial. “Our creators & partners continue to push the boundaries of possibility, bringing communities together through customized experiential spaces. Adding legs to our avatars is so much more than just a feature update — it transforms the experience and opens doors to a host of new audiences. We’re committed to supporting inclusivity, self-identity & representation in virtual space and believe fashion is a core component on this journey.”

Image credit: Spatial

Adding full-body avatars is just one stage of Spatial’s expansion. As it has moved into Web3 the announcement wouldn’t be complete without mentioning NFTs. As more people wish to utilise NFTs to express themselves online, Spatial’s avatars will eventually be able to unlock wearable and accessory assets that can be monetized as NFTs.

“Spatial has been one of the most requested integrations by our users,” said Timmu Tõke, CEO & Co-Founder of Ready Player Me. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring our full-body avatars to Spatial and give users of the platform a completely new way to express themselves in Web3.”

As Spatial continues to expand its Web3 vision, gmw3 will keep you updated.

Exploring New Kinds of Spatiality

Throughout the course of our lives, we project who we are in various different ways — from our taste in music, movies, fashion, video games, personal possessions and of course, the spaces in which we inhabit. Our personal environments — whether they’re our studio flats, our dorm rooms or our penthouse mansions — play a part in defining our everyday identities. Even the smallest details, artefacts or shreds of information can say a lot about who we are at a particular point in time. Research has even suggested that details as minuscule as our email addresses or our online usernames can reflect some of our personality traits.

In the last 6 months, I’ve had an interesting relationship with spaces. After making the decision to move overseas at the tail end of a global pandemic, I left my long-time apartment in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood of Toronto, Canada and ventured across the pond to London for a new adventure. 

Others who have taken a similar path will know that moving internationally means paring down which items you can bring with you (unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant luggage fees). Several years’ worth of collected art, posters, figurines, gaming consoles, electronics and furniture items were forced into storage and left behind. Now, with only two suitcases full of essentials and small allowances, my new space in London feels a tad barren and, well… not quite like mine just yet.

By contrast, decorating virtual spaces inside metaverse platforms such as Spatial, Rec Room and Decentraland has been a new, fun take on the art of space-building — all while defying the limits (and costs) of physical parameters. This mini-experience has also brought a good question to light: will we one day attach our custom environments in the metaverse to our personal identities? Better yet, will our personal spaces be akin to what we currently know as our online profiles, taking the place of things like custom cover photos or layouts?

All answers are already pointing towards ‘yes’ — but first, let’s review some ins and outs of personalising an online space in the metaverse, what that currently looks like and which processes are needed for users to establish ownership of said spaces and the assets that can be featured within them. Also, let me place a disclaimer here: I’m by all means no digital architect, but this was still a fun experiment.

Building custom rooms in Spatial

As part of our quest for a better meeting alternative to Horizon Workrooms, I started using Spatial with two of my colleagues. For the most part, it’s been a success so far — we’ve explored ways to import images and PDFs of our company branding, collaboratively write on shared boards or sticky notes and seamlessly communicate through the built-in party chat feature.

We were also able to bring more 3D images into the space using Spatial’s ‘search’ feature, located on the main menu at the bottom of the screen. Spatial boasts a decent repository of 3D models — ranging from cute cats to Master Swords to blocky renderings of Final Fantasy VII’s much-loved protagonist.

One day, after one of our virtual meetings, I perused the various space-building options that appeared on the app’s start-up screen. The first space I decided to explore was the one that Spatial had titled “Coral’s Home”. Here, I was able to decorate my own custom room (which effectively looked like a cubicle surrounded by a proto-version of Lake Hylia) with any of the built-in models and featured items. 

Better yet, I was even able to connect to Spatial using my crypto wallet and import my NFTs into the space. All it took was a few clicks and before I knew it, one of my digital assets appeared — framed and all — as if it were mounted onto my space’s wall. Given that these are early days in Web3, I felt like this was a perfect and seamless example of the interoperability we want and need to see in future applications.

Little Frens NFT

However, as a shameless lover of hygge and IKEA catalogues, I eventually decided to build a new space using the “Mountain Lodge” template. I was able to upload images of some of my most-loved pieces of artwork — including works from sci-fi legend Syd Mead, East London duo Gilbert and George and one of my all-time favourites, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Image size wasn’t an issue, either — I enlarged the triptych so that it was perfectly centred and gracefully overlooking my virtual abode.

I was also able to upload transparent 2D images into my space, as well as 3D renders I was able to source. I experimented with setting a giant Gunpla model up in my space — because, why not? One of our goals is to defy physical odds in the metaverse — and these are all things I’ll never be able to cross the Atlantic with.

In all, it felt like the experience I was offered in Spatial was reasonably customisable and fun. I especially enjoyed the option to upload my own images through the platform — whether that was JPEGs, 3D models or my NFTs.

Dorm-decking in Rec Room

Alongside my colleagues, I’ve also recently dipped my toes into the popular multiplayer VR platform Rec Room. At a first glance, Rec Room looked a bit like Spatial for kids (unlike the creepy facial recognition tool used to build avatars in Spatial, my Rec Room avatar is a cute, smiley figure that’s currently sporting a green and red superhero garb). 

But as far as experiences go, Rec Room is fantastic — with an incredible marketplace and creator’s ecosystem at its helm. It’s also well-supported — at the end of 2021, the platform closed a funding round of $145 million USD and is currently valued at a total of $3.5 billion.

Like Roblox, Minecraft and other world-building games, there are hundreds of games available for players to join and play collaboratively. However, what I mainly focused on this time around was the space-building function inside my dedicated “dorm room” — the in-game personal space that each user is granted as a virtual landing pad.

The default Dorm Room setting in Rec Room.

Users have the option to customise their dorm room, both with in-game skins and items that have been provided by other creators. All creator-supplied inventory is branded as an ‘invention’ — and as far as I’ve learned, all of it can be crafted within the game using the special Maker Pen tool. In all, various different props, materials, shapes and substances can be produced by the Maker Pen.

I’m not quite an expert in Rec Room content creation yet, so I instead opted to pick from items that were already supplied by other ‘inventors’. I didn’t want to be limited in my selection, however, so I purchased a small batch of in-game tokens and flicked through a list of dorm skins. When I landed upon the Zelda-themed dorm skin, my choice was pretty clear.

Once I was in my Zelda-themed pad, I decided to visit the ‘Store’ section in the main menu and see how I could deck out my space with some additional gear. To my delight, there were loads of other Zelda-themed items — far more than Spatial had to offer. Other Rec Room users had produced a surplus of different swords, floating fairies, posters bearing memorable quotes and other supplies.

But, my favourite function? Without question, it was the ability to not just add custom items, but also to ‘spawn’ a custom song and attach it to my space. Those (like myself) who are old enough to have experienced the MySpace era will especially appreciate this option.

Users should be mindful that despite its multi-functionality and free-to-play approach, Rec Room isn’t yet the most robust of systems. Each ‘invention’ contains a certain amount of ‘ink’ (this can be equated to its file size), which is basically synonymous with in-game bandwidth. Should too many inventions be added into one space, the system can start to lag and even crash at times. There were at least a couple of times when I had to restart the system and re-render my items.

Also, whether Rec Room will adopt Web3 technology is still yet to be seen. Currently, the game’s model enables creators to subscribe to the Rec Room Plus plan — a monthly paid membership program that enables players to earn in-game currency for selling their creations. Subscribers can cash out in-game tokens for real currency, based on a rate determined by Rec Room‘s mechanics.

Trying Decentraland’s Builder tool

Lastly, I wouldn’t be fully embracing space-building in the metaverse if I didn’t try out one of the most popular Web3 applications — Decentraland. I’d been wanting to try Decentraland’s Builder tool for some time, so I decided to see what I could explore on the growing platform.

For those who aren’t familiar, Decentraland allows users to create scenes that can be placed within virtual land parcels purchased on the Ethereum blockchain (which grants them proof of ownership). While owning virtual land isn’t required to visit or use Decentraland, it is required for users to invest, build and publish spaces on the platform so that they’re available for others to visit. Each land parcel in Decentraland is an NFT — which means that just like physical land, it is unique and cannot be forged or duplicated.

While logged into Decentraland using my crypto wallet, I ventured over to the Builder tool and began creating a scene with a small area, to start. While I wasn’t able to purchase a land parcel for my space this time around, I still decided to have some fun with the tool.

Once inside the Builder tool, users can select from a range of in-app asset packs that are categorised under different themes — such as sci-fi, fantasy, Halloween, cyberpunk and Chinese New Year. I mainly chose items from the cyberpunk pack, piecing together a small space with a glass floor, some graffitied walls and neon lights.

What I really wanted to see was how easy it would be to bring my own collectables into my space. Like Spatial‘s mechanics, it was quite simple — since I was already connected via my wallet, I had no issues with importing my NFTs into my creation. I simply had to scroll down to the bottom of the provided menu, select the ‘Collectibles’ option and voila — my NFTs were already selectable as assets.

Loner Girl NFT

It would be nice to see the building process in Decentraland be a little more streamlined (I give more points to Spatial here). In my experience, it was a tad tricky placing objects on top of other objects or situating signs and posters so that they looked a little more lifelike (for example, it took me multiple attempts to place a lamp on top of a tabletop before finally giving up). However, after seeing a spike in visitors after the highly popular Metaverse Fashion Week, I’m hopeful that we will see Decentraland’s Builder tool become more refined and easily accessible.

What will our spaces become in Web3?

In the last 15 years, we’ve created social identities through not just our physical spaces, but also our online profiles. MySpace, for instance, was a great example of early space-building — users were able to craft personalised profiles using custom HTML, an embedded music player, the liberty for layout overhauls and much more. Facebook may have introduced a more ubiquitous experience for non-tech savvy users, but it has still continued to provide options for personal flair. Functions like the cover photo and personal fields have remained ways for us to express ourselves through creative imagery and other identifiable information.

It’s exciting to imagine that in Web3, we will be able to bridge the concepts of both the physical and digital to create and further personalise our online hubs. Like in the ‘real world’, there will be several ways where we’ll be able to modify our spaces to support our thoughts and feelings — from adjusting the lighting, colours, items, patterns, sounds and functions within them.

As far as our current, Web2 online profiles go, however, these experiences have been limited — and this isn’t just due to their dimensions. When it comes to our profiles on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, we don’t own the spaces we customise — and we also lose full ownership of what we upload. Web3 technology, on the other hand, presents an opportunity for us to deck out our profiles with assets that are actually ours — bringing a whole new understanding to the concept of space-building and online identities.

Life in the Metaverse: Decentralising Art

Given the vain bubble of art-based NFTs, one would assume that an NFT art gallery, being held in the metaverse would be absolutely vibing; with digital champagne, an artist conjured within a 3D avatar and each faux wall bedecked in vibrant and diverse art. That’s what I thought too when I logged into Spatial, another virtual reality (VR) hybrid metaverse which borders a meetings app for those working from home, and quiet bubbles devoted to a singular idea.

I started off venturing into an exhibition by Ali Sabet, who uses large, expressive brushstrokes and mixed media to create anything from cute pop art to cartoonish portraits dripping in colour. The space in which I found myself was portioned off into neat sections, some focused on Sabet’s real-world art, some on his NFT offerings through OpenSea. 

I used the Meta Quest 2 controllers to teleport myself around, jumping from painting to painting. Sometimes I got up close, quietly laughing from all the times I’ve gotten too close to a velvet rope in reality. Other times I stood back allowing the artwork to sit within its clean borders of negative space.

This isn’t a blog about the quality of the art, which is, after all, entirely subjective. This is about opportunity and how those opportunities are failing. Because I spent just shy of two hours hopping between galleries and I saw: no other soul, walls with broken JPEG symbols, thumbnails for .MP4 files which weren’t loading and plenty of Discord links. If this is the future of art in the metaverse, then it’s dead on arrival.

This artistic jaunt was in no way comparable to my previous, which took place within Fortnite. Of course that had the money and creative control of a billion-dollar game company backing it, whereas these spaces are smaller in scope. Art is supposed to energise and invigorate the mind while creating debate and societal impact.

In defence of much of the art I saw, the vast majority was, for me, brilliant. Some pieces had the bold work of a comic strip; some were laborious digital works recreating the image of a person or object in stark detail; a few were what I would call ‘true surrealism’; while others leaned towards the PFPs we mostly see with NFTs, but they were unique and genuinely appealing.

But it was all quite a sad landscape of digital markers, which made for a bleak experience. Many of the exhibitions were held within the same cookie-cutter building, so each gallery I saw had the same layout. One was full to bursting, with every wall holding a creation, while others were practically empty. One was literally just a hall with broken JPEG logos dotted around, for a moment I thought it was satire before realisation dawned.

The thing is, I want this to work. During the many (many) months of the pandemic, one of the things I missed was visiting galleries with friends. I’m open to the idea of digital spaces holding art to be viewed, because with so much of today’s art being digital, as long as the resolution of my screen or VR headset is decent, then I’m not missing that much from reality.

This venture provides more opportunities for artists coming up from different backgrounds or cultures. Especially as they needn’t dance around a curator who may overlook them. Digital galleries can provide wider levels of education for children or hold open forums to discuss with other artists. Plus, the potential for different media is limitless as artists can experiment with 3D space, video and even spectator interaction.

As with so many other metaverse ideas, these need to be brought to one place. That’s not a plea for centralisation, but for a place that can be kept by a team of moderators, artists and community members to save us from broken thumbnails and empty walls. Spatial gets close; Decentraland is even closer with their art district, but these are still disparate collections in far-flung places.

We don’t want art to be contained within walled gardens like Fortnite which, despite its wide audience, is still a centralised and controlled entity, but what we have right now in the metaverse doesn’t quite cut it. I ended up exiting Spatial and using my laptop to find the artists and their work, usually ending up on OpenSea or an Instagram page which, let’s be honest, is not very Web3.

Spatial Launch 5.0 Update With New Avatars, Oculus Subscriptions & More

Spatial launched a big 5.0 update for its remote work application on Oculus Quest this week, including improved avatars, Oculus subscription support and much more.

The updates arrives just a week after Facebook announced its own free remote work solution and Spatial competitor, Horizon Workrooms.

The new avatar bodies include “improved movement, greater fashion detail, [and] improved engine performance,” which the company says should make them feel a bit more natural and real than before. Users who join outside of VR, through the Spatial web app, will now have preset animations for their avatars, along with floating webcam bubbles above their avatar, so you can still see a live view of the user’s face and expressions.

Spatial oculus quest

There’s also been UI improvements, particularly to the Spaces window, allowing you to find, join and switch between Spaces quicker and easier than before. There will also be a new explore tab, which will let you find and join public rooms.

Likewise, the new Portals feature lets you create ‘portals’ between rooms that let you and others move between two virtual areas with ease. It’s not quite as glamorous as you might hope — you won’t be walking through a Doctor Strange-style sling ring portal — but it will let you create a small portal token that you or others can click on to quickly travel to the portal’s assigned destination.

When it comes to teleportation, you’ll have an easier time getting around in Spatial 5.0 — multiple levels are now supported in custom environments, giving more freedom to those who create their own areas to work in.

spatial oculus quest

Spatial is also changing its pricing tiers and model. Previously handled externally, Spatial is now moving over to Oculus Subscriptions, which wasn’t available when the app launched last year. This means users can handle their subscription completely within VR and don’t need to take off their headset to sort out payment plans.

Additionally, the pricing tiers have changed and now consist of a free tier, a $25/month pro tier, a $25/user/month Team tier (with 20% off 5 users or more) and an Enterprise tier that can be scaled appropriately and organized by contacting the Spatial sales team.

Spatial is available now on Oculus Quest and other VR, AR and traditional platforms. You can read a full list of all the new changes and features in the 5.0 update here.

Spatial 3.0 Adds Live Translation, iOS LiDAR Support & More


The XR collaboration space has been hotting up over the last year with new apps arriving as well as new features being added to existing software. Today, Spatial has announced its latest raft of updates to improve its service, taking on board requests from customers and making them a reality.


Spatial has strived to meld the real and the virtual, allowing users to take selfies and upload them as an avatar. Bringing that sense of realism into Spatial has taken a step further today with support for iPhone/iPad Pro LiDAR. Now you can scan a model or your own physical environment and import it into Spatial. Thus, you can create your own room environment should you wish. 

Another big addition is live translation available to Pro users. Supporting over 30 languages, ideal for teams based in different regions worldwide, the feature ensures there’s no barrier with communication. Users can also enjoy a new outdoor environment, stronger host controls to handle large meetings, a selfie stick to take pictures that can then be shared, spatial audio improvements and enhanced avatar customization which includes skin and shirt colour.

“Real-time 3D collaboration was always an inevitable future for the next medium of computing but Covid-19 has catapulted it forward,” said Anand Agarawala, CEO of Spatial in a statement. “We never built Spatial with the idea that it would replace in-person work but as we suddenly find ourselves in this new normal, companies are having to tackle issues they had not foreseen. Some of the new features mirror in-person work etiquette like greater security and controls for meeting organizers, whereas others have surfaced naturally after spending hours collaborating in these new virtual spaces. Our plan is to make Spatial as ubiquitous and useful as Google Docs is today. We want it to become a tool users can’t live without.”


Like many collaborative apps Spatial prides itself on being easily accessibly, whether that’s via a virtual reality (VR) headset like Oculus Quest, a mixed reality (MR) device such as Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, and even through the web for desktop users. Today’s update further improves the latter’s ease of use. Guest access is now available where no account sign-up or user account is required for web users, great for setting up quick meetings. Plus, web participants can now move their viewpoint for a more optimum position in the room.

Spatial is free to download for Oculus Quest, HoloLens, Magic Leap, Nreal, iOS and Android. The company has announced plans to launch a PC VR version for Steam, supporting Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality and Varjo headsets in the near future. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Spatial Adds iOS LiDAR Scans And Real-Time Translation

Cross-platform collaboration service Spatial added a series of features to strengthen its position as a remote work tool.

Updates include beta PC VR support and the addition of 3D scans captured on iOS devices — like those taken with LiDAR tech on the latest iPhone and iPad Pro — as well as live translation which can appear as text over avatars during conversation. There’s also casting support for MacOS so you can see the entire desktop and share content on those screens with others. All of the above was demonstrated live inside the Spatial app running on Quest 2, with Spatial going so far as to stream Zack Snyder’s Justice League to a group of six people playing from HBO Max in a Web browser on a Mac.

While many of Spatial’s features have been attempted before — examples include Immersed, Bigscreen and most recently Microsoft’s Mesh — the live demonstration in standalone virtual reality still showed promise for real-time collaboration. Spatial is also adding support for joining via link from a Web browser without the need to setup an account. Taking notes in the app was pretty easy as well with nothing but hand tracking — a hovering menu made it easy to access a voice dictation feature that mutes you for a moment while you speak some words that are translated to text.

Spatial was one of the last startups we saw at an in-person event. The video above shot at CES 2020 was the last major technology conference held before the COVID-19 pandemic and the demo at the time was heavily geared toward AR technology, though it was also demonstrated in VR as well. In the year since, the startup has added a large number of features and aims to make its technology a ubiquitous collaboration tool available across a wide range of devices, including iPhone and Android.

Here’s the full list of features the company added recently, as listed by Spatial:

  • Custom environments – Import any 3D model or scan your own physical environment with LiDAR (using an iOS device) and set it as your room environment. Now your meetings can happen anywhere you can imagine.
  • Live translation – Accommodates 30+ languages for teams joining from multiple regions. Language never needs to be a barrier to communication in VR! (Pro only feature)
  • Private Rooms – Limit access to only those specified by a room admin, such as your immediate team or a specific group of friends
  • Host tools – Administrators of large meetings give the ability to mute users, lock content, remove participants and enable feature specific permissions
  • Better web experience – Better experience for web participants with moveable Spectator camera, allowing you to choose your view and position in the room
  • Selfie stick – Take pictures of objects or yourself that you can easily share with others via email
  • Spatial audio improvements – The farther you are from someone the harder it becomes to hear them, making it perfect for cocktail parties & breakout sessions
  • Outdoor campfire environment – A new beautifully designed outdoor campfire environment for large groups or intimate social settings and sing-a-longs!
  • Avatar customization – Includes skin and shirt color making avatars even more reflective of the real you
  • Simpler access via web
  • Join in one click – no account sign-up or user account required for web users. Great for quickly sharing meetings with new participants
  • Cast from macOS is a high-performance app that lets you stream your macOS screen into the space around you through VR, complete with audio. Work side by side with friends in virtual space, watch movies or play games together.

We’ll be live with Spatial CEO and co-founder Anand Agarawala in our studio at 12:30 pm Pacific on April 1, 2021, to discuss the suite of new features and the startup’s position as giants like Microsoft and Apple develop new AR and VR technologies.

The New Normal: Working from Home XR Style


Working from home always sounded like a great concept in theory, especially when sat on a train commuting to the office at seven thirty in the morning or stuck in gridlocked traffic. For those able to, that fantasy became a very real reality during the course of 2020, as offices were closed and everyone had to become immediately proficient in managing video calls. Yet there is another way, where you can have face-to-face conversations in digital worlds which emulate that feeling of working together, something you probably didn’t think you’d miss until now. In this new series VRFocus is going to deep dive into the world of remote collaboration and what it holds for the future.


Down the XR rabbit hole…

You may think why bother with all the fuss of a virtual reality (VR) headset and the specific software for remote collaboration when you can just video call using your laptop’s built-in camera. Honestly though, aren’t you already bored with meeting after meeting staring at a sea of faces who’ve slowly decided that getting ready for work went from looking sharp and groomed to wearing hats that hide bed hair. Because that’s how it feels. A quick chat with friends and family over video call is no bother as you can just lay in bed or chill in the garden with your phone. That doesn’t look so good when having a meeting with colleagues or clients anywhere in the world.

Plus there’s that loss of connection (no that doesn’t mean your dodgy Wi-Fi). In a workspace – whether that’s a meeting room, open plan office or even the pub – most of us thrive on being able talk in close proximity, and that’s where ideas can really flourish. The same can’t always be said for Zoom or Google Meet calls, lively debate suffers in the process as everyone tries to get their point/idea across.

Which is where VR or augmented reality (AR) comes into play as a means of bridging those long distance barriers, providing a similar level of interaction in a friendly space where groups aren’t frowned upon! And it doesn’t require a high level of tech savvy either, a lot of these new apps available facilitate both VR and non-VR users so if you find you really don’t like VR you can still take part – just with a lot less interaction.

An ocean of possibilities

This brave new frontier doesn’t need to be daunting, scratch the surface and there’s plenty of fun to be had whilst diving deeper uncovers specialist features tailored to specific industries. Like any tool or piece of software you need to find what’s right for you or your company. Big multinationals already use XR for collaboration, training and design purposes like Nvidia’s Holodeck used by Koenigsegg or SkyReal, originally conceived internally at Airbus. However, most of you may just want to jot notes down, upload a pdf or hold a PowerPoint presentation. If that’s the case then you’re in luck, you can do just that!

To get you started, apps such as Spatial or Glue can be a great launch point offering free access to their apps so you can test them out on headsets like Oculus Quest 2. These kinds of apps let you host small groups, offer basic storage and can support 2D and 3D file uploads. Business can then take that a step further by paying for licensing packages which allow for greater room sizes, more storage and greater freedom to personalise spaces. Paying opens the door to more apps specialising in remote collaboration like The Wild, SkyReal, VisionxR, Vive XR Suite and many more – which VRFocus will detail in future articles.    

While the feature sets may differ depending on whether they tailor to small startup teams or a multitude of teams across regions, there’s one thing that links them all, that feeling of presence. You can all sit around a table to have your meeting, write ideas on a giant board or hand a 3D model between each of you. XR has always had that ‘you need to try it to understand it’ requirement so all of this may seem unnecessary. After a couple of immersive meetings, the thought of a video conference will just be boring.

Vive XR Suite

Buying into the XR dream

Of course, this does mean buying new kit – or persuading your company to if you’re not the boss. Just like buying any piece of tech, there are various avenues to explore, thankfully unlike a new laptop there aren’t a plethora of options.

Firstly VR or AR. Then you’ve got deep pockets with thousands to spend then go nuts, Microsoft HoloLens 2 or Magic Leap One offers mixed reality, holographic solutions whilst Varjo or VRgineers are on the VR high-end. It’s more than likely that factoring for a multitude of employees or the budget-conscious startup that price will influence the decision. PC VR is one way to go, with headsets like Vive Cosmos or Valve Index solid choices. As these are cabled and require a PC that might not suit everyone, especially if they want to be light and mobile.

So we come to standalone VR as the most likely route the majority will take into this space. Oculus Quest 2 is going to be the front runner in this field as it is dominating the market quite frankly. But individuals do need a Facebook account or there is the Oculus for Business route, both with their good and bad points depending on circumstances. Others in this field like Pico Neo 2 and Vive Focus Plus do provide viable alternatives yet the software support varies wildly.   

The new normal

All of this means that now is a good time to begin integrating this kind of technology into your everyday working practice. Companies like Facebook already envision a world where at least half of employees work from home within the next decade, reducing costs, the stress of commuting and more. This can’t solely be achieved through video conferencing or email, with XR offering a viable route for digital collaboration. Even when the pandemic subsides and things return to normal, every day 9 to 5 work life may not, so why not start to adapt now?

Spatial Expands Social Workspace Into Mobile AR


The collaborative meeting tool Spatial launched earlier this year, connecting people across the world in immersive rooms whether they had an Oculus Quest, HoloLens, Magic Leap or simply via the web. Today, the company has launched its augmented reality (AR) app for mobile devices for even easier remote access.


With the rollout of native Android and iOS support, not only can colleagues or friends meet up virtually, the meeting room with its various interactive boards, 3D models and avatars all appear within a users real-world environment.

Allowing simultaneous collaboration between all supported platforms, the mobile version of Spatial includes automatic camera switching to see who’s talking. It also features a mobile-centric UI allowing a mobile avatar to move and interact with models, documents or videos as if they were in VR.

“This is a huge step for spatial computing and for us in solidifying our leadership as the leading AR/VR collaboration tool on the market today,” said Anand Agarawala, Co-founder and CEO of Spatial in a statement. “Previously only people with a headset could experience the true magic of Spatial but we wanted anyone to be able to take advantage of it. Now, you simply hold up your phone and for the first time ever can become an active part of any virtual meeting and see life-like avatars of coworkers or friends right in your living room.”


“Our mobile and web apps offer the perfect gateway experience for those that want to try out the benefits of connecting more deeply with remote friends, family or colleagues but without the upfront financial commitment of a headset”, continued Jinha Lee, Co-founder and CPO of Spatial. “The Quest 2 is projected to sell up to 6 million devices in its first year but we can bring Spatial for free to billions of users on mobile. The phone is where AR will thrive first and we’re capitalizing on this trend today. We expect that some users will go on to a fully immersive headset experience as hardware continues to become more affordable for the mass market.”

Just like the other versions, Spatial is free for iOS and Android to get you started. There are Pro and Enterprise options for businesses starting from $20 USD per user/per month adding further features. For more Spatial updates, keep reading VRFocus.

New 4K ‘Spatial Reality Display’ From Sony Has Glasses-Free 3D

The ELF-SR1 is a new ‘Spatial Reality Display’ from Sony that features a 4K screen and glasses-free volumetric 3D targeting professional users.

Volumetric 3D displays are neither easy to produce nor common, as holographic imagery generally requires a mix of stereoscopic screen technology and unique optics, sometimes backed by high-speed eye tracking. Today, the display experts at Sony are throwing their hat into the ring with a new option called the ELF-SR1 — also known as the Spatial Reality Display — which is initially being targeted at professional users in content creation businesses, but with an eye towards future use in consumer-facing applications.

Resembling a traditional computer monitor fixed on a 45-degree recline with a triangular frame, the Spatial Reality Display combines a 15.6-inch screen with a micro optical lens coating and an eye-tracking camera. While the display packs a conventional 4K resolution, the pixels are effectively split into twin 2K arrays for your left and right eyes, using live pupil tracking data and precision alignment of the micro-lenses atop pixels to deliver sharp, realistic 3D imagery. The results are digital 3D objects that appear to be floating right in front of the screen, and switch perspectives smoothly as your head and eyes move.

In other words, if you can imagine computer-generated holograms coming to life and being viewable from whatever angle you prefer relative to the display, that’s what Sony is promising here. Apart from the laptop-like screen size, the only catch is that the volumetric imagery only looks optimized for an audience of one person at a time.

Similar technology appeared in consumer form within Nintendo’s 3DS, but it was obviously far lower in resolution and initially suffered from major headache-inducing issues due to the absence of eye tracking. Beyond using over 40 times as many pixels, Sony’s implementation independently tracks the viewer’s pupil positions on three axes — up-down, left-right, and forward-back — on a millisecond level, enabling the screen to dynamically adjust and render what the viewer needs to see in real time. A “powerful” Windows PC running either Unity or Unreal Engine is required to actually create the 3D content; Mac support is expected in the future.


For the time being, Sony is targeting content creators in the 3D computer graphics field, including filmmakers and animators (such as the Ghostbusters: Afterlife team at Sony Pictures), automotive product designers, architects, and VR/AR content creators. 3D models and environments can be previewed in volumetric and realistic ways, enabling creators to adjust lighting, test object positioning, and check camera blocking ahead of finalizing scenes.

Sony expects that film previsualization will be a major use of the technology in the future. Another suggested use of the Spatial Reality Display will be in car dealerships, enabling customers to examine realistic customized car models without needing to actually see the vehicles in person. Judged against 2D displays, ELF-SR1’s raw specs aren’t exactly mind-blowing — 500 nits of brightness, a contrast ratio of 1,400:1, and approximately 100% of Adobe RGB in color gamut, with an undisclosed refresh ratio — but Sony is confident that users will be wowed when they see the 3D effects for themselves. The unit has 2.1-channel speakers built in and can be paired with optional accessories such as a Leap Motion gesture controller for input or a Sony-crafted stage-like box to contain content and block ambient light.

The ELF-SR1 Spatial Reality Display will sell for $5,000, within the same general price range as rival products from companies such as Looking Glass. It will start shipping in November 2020 and can be ordered directly from Sony’s website.

This article by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared in VentureBeat.

Social XR Collaboration Platform ‘Spatial’ Now on Oculus Store for Quest

Spatial, the social collaboration platform for XR devices, is now available for public download on Oculus Quest, which includes cross-platform support for HoloLens, Magic Leap One, Nreal, Web browsers, and iOS & Android mobile devices.

As a work-focused social app, Spatial puts heavy emphasis on productivity tools, including things such as an in-app browser, screen sharing abilities, support for multiple 2D/3D file types, communal whiteboards and sticky notes, and integration with Slack, Google Drive, One Drive, and Share Point.

The platform’s other claim to fame is its approach to avatars, as users can upload a selfie and generate a more realistic avatar than you might otherwise with the more cartoonish offerings in other social VR programs.

'Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR' Beta Updates Hint at "Upcoming hardware releases"

Notably, Spatial is available for free for individuals and groups who want to try it out. The free version lets you:

  • Host up to 30 people in a room
  • Host up to an additional 20 people from the webapp
  • Unlimited meeting length
  • Unlimited saved rooms
  • Up to 5GB of storage

For $20 a month, Spatial also includes unlimited storage and a dedicated team administration panel.

There’s still no word on whether PC VR headsets will eventually get support, however it seems Spatial is intent on keeping its platform mobile-first. You can download Spatial for Quest here.

The post Social XR Collaboration Platform ‘Spatial’ Now on Oculus Store for Quest appeared first on Road to VR.