Cross-platform collaboration service Spatial added a series of features to strengthen its position as a remote work tool.
Updates include beta PC VR support and the addition of 3D scans captured on iOS devices — like those taken with LiDAR tech on the latest iPhone and iPad Pro — as well as live translation which can appear as text over avatars during conversation. There’s also casting support for MacOS so you can see the entire desktop and share content on those screens with others. All of the above was demonstrated live inside the Spatial app running on Quest 2, with Spatial going so far as to stream Zack Snyder’s Justice League to a group of six people playing from HBO Max in a Web browser on a Mac.
While many of Spatial’s features have been attempted before — examples include Immersed, Bigscreen and most recently Microsoft’s Mesh — the live demonstration in standalone virtual reality still showed promise for real-time collaboration. Spatial is also adding support for joining via link from a Web browser without the need to setup an account. Taking notes in the app was pretty easy as well with nothing but hand tracking — a hovering menu made it easy to access a voice dictation feature that mutes you for a moment while you speak some words that are translated to text.
Spatial was one of the last startups we saw at an in-person event. The video above shot at CES 2020 was the last major technology conference held before the COVID-19 pandemic and the demo at the time was heavily geared toward AR technology, though it was also demonstrated in VR as well. In the year since, the startup has added a large number of features and aims to make its technology a ubiquitous collaboration tool available across a wide range of devices, including iPhone and Android.
Here’s the full list of features the company added recently, as listed by Spatial:
- Custom environments – Import any 3D model or scan your own physical environment with LiDAR (using an iOS device) and set it as your room environment. Now your meetings can happen anywhere you can imagine.
- Live translation – Accommodates 30+ languages for teams joining from multiple regions. Language never needs to be a barrier to communication in VR! (Pro only feature)
- Private Rooms – Limit access to only those specified by a room admin, such as your immediate team or a specific group of friends
- Host tools – Administrators of large meetings give the ability to mute users, lock content, remove participants and enable feature specific permissions
- Better web experience – Better experience for web participants with moveable Spectator camera, allowing you to choose your view and position in the room
- Selfie stick – Take pictures of objects or yourself that you can easily share with others via email
- Spatial audio improvements – The farther you are from someone the harder it becomes to hear them, making it perfect for cocktail parties & breakout sessions
- Outdoor campfire environment – A new beautifully designed outdoor campfire environment for large groups or intimate social settings and sing-a-longs!
- Avatar customization – Includes skin and shirt color making avatars even more reflective of the real you
- Simpler access via web
- Join in one click – no account sign-up or user account required for web users. Great for quickly sharing meetings with new participants
- Cast from macOS is a high-performance app that lets you stream your macOS screen into the space around you through VR, complete with audio. Work side by side with friends in virtual space, watch movies or play games together.
We’ll be live with Spatial CEO and co-founder Anand Agarawala in our studio at 12:30 pm Pacific on April 1, 2021, to discuss the suite of new features and the startup’s position as giants like Microsoft and Apple develop new AR and VR technologies.