Virtually More Productive

Most anyone who has used the Rift or Vive would have seen the virtual interface that greets them before they dive into a game or application. I have experienced the SteamVR interface which mirrors my desktop in a virtual space, and I think it’s pretty neat – until I saw the demo for Envelop’s version of a virtual workspace.

Instead of simply mirroring your standard desktop probably consisting of 1 or 2 monitors, or even 3 for the more extreme of our readers, Envelop takes each window, application, or widget you have in your desktop and places them in their own purple-bordered windows within the virtual space. The user can then grab, resize, move, minimize, or restore the windows, also enabling a space surrounded by all the windows you need at one time, turning your desktop into a true virtual desktop where everything is accessible through a quick glance or turn of the head. For the non touch-typists out there, Envelop comes with support for a webcam that can be focused on your hands and keyboard so you can see what you’re typing.

9Even with such impressive performance, Envelop is still in its early development stages and is still in public beta. There’s a lot of  ground to cover, with compatibility being the main gremlin to eliminate for Envelop to be a true “VR Shell” for your desktop. There’s a lot to look forward to, and I have little doubt that this is how a virtual desktop will look in the future – based on my fevered sci-fi fueled imagination and recent media influences. I do have a small “wish list” that would make this application perfect.

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You know what Envelop would work best with? A swiveling chair with an attached keyboard/mouse tray. The webcam for the keyboard can also be attached. Other things I wish for, but is a bit farther away development-wise, is a VR headsets with even wider FoV (Field of View) and / or more affordable hardware with lower hardware specs for use primarily for office work. Perhaps some sort of wrap-around glasses would ultimately be preferable.

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I can also imagine this being very useful in an MR – Mixed Reality – environment, where you can see the surrounding conference room while still having the virtual spreadsheets, instructions, or the person you are speaking with through Skype in separate windows. It’s gratifying to experience excitement for an application that’s not about gaming or new, better, faster hardware. For the productivity gurus out there, this is the next big thing. For the technologically inclined, this is many years of “wow” moments in film and popular media being condensed into an actual product right before our eyes.

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