We were wrong. In October, we discovered a product meant to help you stay focused in an open office setting. It was called the “Wear Space,” and it strapped panels to the wearer’s head that restricted their view to whatever lay directly in front of them. Produced by Panasonic, it was the human equivalent of horse blinders, but for open-office workers who wanted to “concentrate.”
We thought that was the worst thing ever, at least in terms of offices, but now we have something even worse: the virtual desktop, which recreates your office in virtual reality (VR).
RoadToVR says the virtual desktop is “finally” hitting Oculus Go and Gear VR, with the Oculus Quest gaining the virtual desktop next year. We’ll appreciate that “finally” in its most dystopian form, in this context; we don’t believe anyone was gleefully anticipating this thing.
Available by the time you read this article, the virtual desktop leans on the Windows Native Touch keyboard for text input, which is kludgey in VR. You could connect a real-life mouse or keyboard via Bluetooth, if you want at least a portion of yourself to continue to exist in this reality while you work.
If you’re looking for good news about that, the virtual desktop’s creator says it only has a 20ms latency on a solid wired internet connection. So, yay? And if you’re wondering if a virtual desktop is even marginally good, check this video out:
The video underscores a major issue with virtual reality: Beyond gaming and media, we’re not sure what its use-cases are. More to the point, this virtual desktop doesn’t do more than simulate staring at a regular ol’ screen to play games or watch movies. Just as we can’t imagine why you’d want to play a game on a virtual screen when there’s a real one available, we can’t argue that a virtual text editor is better than the same thing in reality.
But the virtual desktop has one benefit: space. You don’t need a big desk. With the continued surge toward packing people into co-working spaces like sardines in a can, this virtual desktop actually catching on sounds like a fresh version of hell we haven’t considered yet. Imagine a space slightly wider than your office chair, with a desk just large enough for a keyboard and trackpad or mouse while you stare off into a headset.
And don’t forget your Panasonic blinders, which will now serve as a bumper for your skull so you don’t crack heads with your 12 cubicle-mates as you all flail around while working in VR.