One of the most frustrating things about introducing people to virtual reality (VR), especially on a Samsung Gear VR, is that they can’t see what you see while you’re wearing the headset. Sony smartly included a mirror feature on the TV screen when using the PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset with a PS4 and most Oculus Rift and HTC Vive applications do something similar. But in the case of the Gear VR and other wireless headsets, you’re out of luck. Mobile devices, by default, don’t have a way of displaying their screens on other, larger screens.
There are some apps and workarounds out there that require installing third-party software on a PC, or things that potentially introduce significant lag, but there still isn’t an accessible and easy to use solution. That is, until now.
“We created a prototype of a ‘live viewer’ for the Samsung Gear VR,” said David Robustelli, Head of Digital at CapitolaVR, in an email to UploadVR. “This application makes it possible to see on a tablet what the Gear VR user is seeing in real-time.”
Robustelli sent me footage of the prototype, which you can watch above, showing a man progressing through a virtual store inside the Gear VR headset. The footage is perfectly mirrored onto a tablet that anyone could then watch to get a better idea of exactly what the VR user is looking at. This prototype application goes a step beyond simply mirroring the footage as well, even allowing creators to track where a user is going and looking while inside a VR application.
“This specific tool focuses on following the user journey though a (digital) showroom and it creates a heat map so store owners can determine how to design their stores based on the users path,” said Robustelli. “The software can also be used to make VR games even more interactive by adding a multiplayer option for the non-VR user.”
Luckily the concept doesn’t end at just tablets, as this application will theoretically work on most any network-connected device, such as TVs and computer screens as well.
“The live viewer was setup through the network of Unity,” explained Robustelli. “The Gear VR is the host, which can connect to any device/screen which allows you to connect to a network. This is in a nutshell how we made it work. So yes, any screen with connectivity would work.”
There’s no word yet on if or when this will become a consumer-facing application, but the usefulness should certainly elevate it above other non-consumer prototypes. CapitolaVR has released pieces of content for VR in the past, such as Duckpocalypse, a simple and fun wave shooter, as well as other prototypes, such as a HoloLens concept for Pokemon Go.