Virtual Reality Takes On the Videoconference

If meetings are held in virtual reality with avatars, will people feel more connected?

Story by Cat Zakrzewski, The Wall Street Journal

Get ready for your next conference call—in virtual reality.

With equipment for virtual-reality viewing now on the consumer market, public tech companies and venture capitalists are exploring possible applications in everything from videogames to medicine. And some are betting that virtual-reality headsets could be the next big thing in business-meeting software, upending the dreaded videoconference call.

Some of virtual reality’s potential as a meeting and collaboration tool is suggested in a video recently recorded at the NYU Media Research Lab. In the video, lab researchers strap on Samsung Gear VR headsets with antler-like sensors attached to the goggles. The headsets usher the researchers into a virtual-reality environment in which they see digital avatars of themselves moving around a simulated environment. Soon, using hand-held electronic wands, the researchers are drawing 3-D models together.

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