Oculus Dash Update Makes Pinning Windows In VR Easier Than Ever

Today’s update to the Oculus Rift system software adds a new button to the Oculus Dash interface to make pinning desktop windows in VR easier than ever.

Oculus Dash is the menu system of the Rift software. It can be brought up at any time by pressing the Oculus button on the right Touch controller. It will blend in to any VR app which submits its depth buffer to the Oculus compositor, which is now enabled by default in Unity and Unreal.

Oculus Dash

Dash allows users to launch apps, start voice call Parties, manage notifications, purchase content on the store, change audio volume, take screenshots, start livestreaming, and configure the Guardian system. It also allows users to view their monitors as virtual screens inside VR, functionality also available in apps like Virtual Desktop.

Unlike Virtual Desktop however, Dash allows windows to be “pulled out” individually. In previous versions though, this required a rather imprecise gesture of grabbing a window from the monitor view.

Dash 1.40 adds a new button to the menu bar. Pressing this button brings up a list of all open windows. Selecting a window brings that window up individually, and it can then be moved and “pinned”. Pinning means that even when you close Dash the window will remain in VR, meaning you can watch Netflix in Elite Dangerous or monitor the chat while Twitch streaming.

Oculus Dash

We tried out 1.40 today and found it does make pinning windows in VR easier than ever. It now takes seconds to do and the chance of pulling the wrong window is effectively eliminated.

Building this virtual desktop and window pinning system required co-operation from NVIDIA and AMD, as Windows 10 does not officially support it. Under the hood, Dash creates a virtual 4K monitor and uses it to “hold” the pinned windows users select. On Linux, because of the open model of the OS, this can be done with an extension of the windowing system.

The changelog advises users to make sure Windows 10 is up to date in order to have the most stable experience with Dash’s windows features. This can be done under Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Check for updates.

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How To Watch Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality Announcement

How To Watch Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality Announcement

Sunday at 9 am Pacific Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, CVP Julia White and Technical Fellow Alex Kipman will kick off Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. We expect announcements detailing Microsoft’s next steps with AR and VR technology and HoloLens.

Microsoft refers to the entire spectrum of AR and VR technology as “Mixed Reality.” You can watch the presentation live on Microsoft’s website.

Microsoft aims to enable developers to build apps for both types of devices through a single release on Windows. In 2016, Microsoft released HoloLens as a standalone AR headset with a see-through display. In 2017, the company released its 6dof tracking technology to manufacturing partners. As a result, manufacturing partners like Acer, Dell and HP built VR headsets featuring opaque displays.

Windows Holographic To Mixed Reality

After the VR headsets from partners, Microsoft got quiet building out the next generation of hardware. Throughout 2017 and 2018 the company improved the software running both HoloLens and the Windows-based VR headsets. In 2018, Microsoft secured a huge contract with the United States military supplying next generation AR technology based on HoloLens to the Army. We’ve known for some time Microsoft was targeting 2019 for the next version of its HoloLens and that’s the focus of our expectations for Sunday.

We talked to Kipman around the same time Oculus shipped its Touch controllers for Rift in late 2016. He shared the following about Microsoft’s long-term plans. Maybe there’s a hint in here of what is to come.

“Now you can squint and you look to the future,” Kipman said. “At some point in the near future all devices will be able to do all of it. The devices will be able to go fully opaque. They will be able to remain fully see through. They will require no setup. And they will allow you to have access to high-end compute in an ambulatory type of way. Where you can have portability and walk around from room to room. So if HoloLens sets up as Microsoft first-party devices always set up for the highest water mark device in a category…what we then do is take those innovations and we bring them to the ecosystem for scale. 6dof being the first…of those technologies that we bring to the ecosystem…[you] should imagine that spatial mapping, eye tracking and any number of these technologies would follow suit.”

If you don’t feel like watching the stream we’ll have updates for you here on Sunday.

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Windows 10 to Become Minimum Supported OS on Rift When Core 2.0 Goes Live

Rift owners still running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, beware. Oculus is changing both its recommended and minimum supported OS to Windows 10 on Rift, something the company says will come when Rift Core 2.0 is pushed out to the stable branch sometime later this year.

Oculus says in a blogpost that Windows 7 and 8.1 aren’t losing support entirely, but users “may not be able to use many new and upcoming features and apps. We encourage everyone who isn’t already running Windows 10 to upgrade now to avoid missing out on what’s next.”

There is some pretty salient reasoning behind this: the company reports that 95% of “most active Rift owners” currently run Windows 10. Not only that, Microsoft has phased out mainstream support for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 now, with 8.1 losing mainstream support as of January 9th, 2018.

Rift Core 2.0 is currently an opt-in beta which puts a few important quality-of-life issues at its core; a customizable Home experience with collectibles, app and window multitasking via Oculus Dash, and Oculus Desktop’s mirror monitors.

Here’s the company’s general warning to users still running Windows 7 and 8.1:

Rift owners whose PCs aren’t running Windows 10 may find their systems are incompatible with some new apps and games. You’ll still be able to get the same VR features and functions you have today, including things like responding to platform notifications, interacting with friends on the platform, managing your device, and running VR apps that don’t require Windows 10. You can still use Windows 7 and Windows 8 with most of Rift Core 2.0’s core functionality, but things like Oculus Desktop require Windows 10, as does the ability to run Dash as an overlay.

Windows 10 has always been a minimum OS for the full functionality of Rift Core 2.0 while in beta, so it makes sense that Oculus would officially have to pull the band-aid off of Windows 7 and 8.1 users eventually.

Oculus hasn’t changed its minimum or recommended hardware specs, which you can see below. If you’re worried your system doesn’t reach the minimum, you can always use Oculus’ compatibility check tool for extra assurance.

Oculus Rift Recommended Specs

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
  • Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 10 operating system

Oculus Rift Minimum Specs

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
  • Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
  • CPU: Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • OS: Windows 10 operating system

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