Owlchemy Turns Smartphones Into VR Windows

Owlchemy Turns Smartphones Into VR Windows
October 6, 2018

Job Simulator developer Owlchemy Labs has devised a new way for players to watch their friends inside a virtual reality experience. 


The team have created an app called Mobile Spectator that effectively turns smartphones into virtual reality windows, letting users peek into the digital spaces their friends are inhabiting.


As shown in the clip below, the Mobile Spectator app uses ARCore to track the phone's position in the physical space. Once that information has been gathered, the handset is then synced with a VR headset so it can also be tracked in the virtual world. 


All of that data is combined and sent to the PC (connected to the VR headset), which places a camera representing the Mobile Spectator into the virtual reality scene.


The PC then renders a frame from that camera, encodes the frame, fires it back to the phone, and decodes it there -- thus creating a live video feed on both the phone and the PC. 


It means players outside the VR space can see their pals, and those wearing the headset can also see the Mobile Spectator floating around in front of them.


It's an intriguing project that could be used in a number of ways. For instance, the Owlchemy team added a button to the app that, when pressed, hurled beach balls at the player in VR -- letting those in the real-world interact directly with their virtual counterparts.


The Owlchemy team have put together an in-depth blog post to explain exactly how the tech works, so be sure to check that out if you want to know more.

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