Ghost Productions team in Horizon Workrooms Zoom Meeting
August 25, 2021 · 11 min read

Better than a Zoom Meeting. VR Telepresence game changer!


Welcome to the Horizon Workrooms and the Zoom Meeting that takes place in an Immersive Metaverse…

Over the past four years I’ve spent close to 1000 collective hours in virtual reality. As my consciousness was adjusting to spending half my time in a computer generated reality, the rest of the world was adjusting unceremoniously to a forced social isolation. The Covid-19 pandemic replaced the little time I had left to collaborate with my coworkers in the real world. Suddenly all my meetings were replaced with low resolution screen sharing and highly compressed laggy video conferencing in Microsoft Teams or another boring Zoom Meeting.

One would think that the last thing I’d ever want was to spend more time with my eyes glued to my Oculus Quest’s refractive lenses. But I got an invitation to Horizon Workrooms from Mark Zuckerberg that I simply couldn’t ignore.

The Possibilities of VR Telepresence

Now, I’m no stranger to VR collaboration environments. Nor am I ignorant to the powerful capabilities of a well designed VR application that utilizes fully immersive telepresence. My skunkworks development team here at Ghost Productions has been creating the Wraith VR surgical simulation toolset for several years. Alongside its development, we were also creating WraithMatrix, a multiuser telepresence network that allows sales reps and trainers to work remotely with surgeons in a simulation that feels and functions identically to working together in the same operating room.

Designing a Metaverse Inside a Metaverse

Wraithmatrix simulates working together in a virtual surgery. Horizon Workrooms simulates working together in a conference room. Swap out the scalpels for dry erase markers and the experience is quite similar. Watch as we meet in a VR conference room to collaborate with our VR development team to discuss putting the final touches on our VR surgery simulator

"One cannot be told the advantages of immersive telepresence  of remote collaboration, you must experience it for yourself."

It is one thing to see and hear your colleagues and clients in a Zoom meeting, another to share live content from your screen. It is a completely transformative advancement to reach out with your hand, grab a tool, hand it to another, user and show them how to use it. Never before has it been possible to manipulate the anatomy of a virtual patient with someone 3000 miles away in realtime.

Immersive telepresence in VR allows users to collaborate with others at vast distances as though they were in the same room. It is going to radically alter the way we interact with each other regardless of the geography that separates us. In my industry alone, I think it is only a matter of time before the adoption of VR/AR and remote telepresence becomes a standard for surgical training. Ghost Productions certainly played a role in 3D medical animation replacing video and static images as the standard media for explaining medical procedures.

How disruptive will medical VR technology be?

I’m no analyst, but I’m certainly not going to be investing in any cadaver farms or expecting dividends from companies relying on travel and lodging expenses from medical sales reps. After all, I can overnight a top of the line Neo-3 or Oculus Quest VR headset to anyone nearly anywhere in the world. Once the headset arrives I can meet with them and 5 other users in less time than it takes to budget and schedule a cadaver lab, much less get through TSA.

Horizon Workrooms is like a Zoom Meeting in a Holodeck

virtual dry erase board says, "Welcome to Sprint Planning!"

So what’s so special about Mark Zuckerberg’s Horizon Workrooms application he’s been bragging about recently? In the most simple terms, it simulates the most important aspects of a conference room. While this may sound rather pedestrian, I didn’t realize how much I missed our fleshing out ideas with my team in the Ghost Productions conference room until I found myself sitting next to one of my colleagues as the lead developer updated our progress board on the overhead projector.

VR avatars sitting at a conference table in Horizon Workrooms

The screen from my Macbook Pro appeared as sharp as day in my headset. My hands were superimposed over an augmented reality image of my keyboard and trackpad. As I shared my screen to the rest of the team, I navigated with impressive ease, even touch typing while wearing the headset. This is exactly what I expect is meant when they say, “Mixed Reality.”

Typing in VR Horizon Workrooms

How to set up Horizon Workrooms

  1. Download Horizon Workrooms on your Oculus Quest

    Download in Headset

  2. Create a team account in Workrooms

    Workrooms.com

  3. Download the Oculus Remote Desktop App

    Download from Workplace.com

  4. Pair Headset to Desktop App

    The headset will provide a pairing code. We’ve found it is best to enter the code into your computer keyboard and then keep your finger on the return key while you keep the headset on. If the headset detects you’ve removed it when the code is activated, it may cause the pairing to fail.

    Note: On MacOS, your screen resolution may change to something quite unuseable. Be sure to change it to your preferred resolution before accepting the pairing or it will break the connection to the remote desktop.

    If all goes well you should see your display in your VR headset. If something goes wrong, we’ve found that restarting the Mac can and starting the pairing over fixes most issues.

  5. Set up Keyboard Tracking

    Be sure to select the appropriate keyboard from the list or your hands will look more like a scene from an A-ha music video than 3D animated avatar hands.image of avatar hands in mixed reality keyboard

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