The inspiration for this project came from this article and this in the New Yorker among others, about how the open office trend is destroying the workplace, productivity and efficiency. To quote, “open offices are damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation”
There are many of us who work from home to avoid the unproductive open office. The Harvard Business Review supports this decision. However, working from home opens it’s own can of worns for those with families or roommates. We looked around to find the best solution and everywhere we looked, we found that being able to control your work environment is the most significant variable in determining your productivity. However, as a student with limited resources, we tried to do our best.
Since we couldn’t Here is when VR Desk comes to the rescue.
What it does
We've created a virtual office for you to spend your work hours. Don’t worry as you are totally connected with the outside world as we keep the virtual workspace synced with your Google Account. Currently, we pull up your emails and calendar events and will never let you miss a thing. Think of it as an extension of the real world into a virtual space.. We are using an Oculus Rift and 2 Thalmic Myo’s. When you hit the Laptop, a list of your emails from GMail comes up in front of you that you can read. When you move around and hit the calendar, our google calendar events are fetched and displayed to you.
How I built it
We created a 3dsMax scene for an office and hooked it up with an Oculus rift via Unity. We programmed the Myo to allow you to move around, turn in this virtual space with one of your hand while the second myo allows you to interact with the stuff placed in the virtual environment.m with the help of a MYO on one arm. We used another MYO on the second arm to allow interactions with elements inside the room.
Challenges I ran into
- Setting up Oculus Rift and making it work with 2 MYO’s
- Getting the Data from Google APIs into Unity and displaying it in the virtual scene
- Finding out an optimum sensitivity of MYO to control the camera in the Unity.
What I learned
- How Myo works *How to integrate Google API's in Unity
- Working with Oculus DK2. Creating 3d experiences
- Explored leap motion and finally settled for myo
What's next for VR Desk
A lot actually. We are looking to integrate as many third party services in this virtual space to provide a perfect productive work experience to our users