One of the most common questions we get asked is how IrisVR sets up virtual reality for various different office spaces and user requirements. We’ve tried pretty much every configuration: at our office we have 20 Oculus Rifts, 5 HTC Vives, 6 Gear VRs, and about 500 Cardboards. The Oculus Rifts are used at individual employee desks and two are taken on the road when we’re giving quick demos. Two of the Vives are set up permanently in common areas, and the other 3 are regularly shipped to conferences. We keep our Cardboards stocked as handouts for office visitors.
After a few years of using these HMDs in practice, we can recommend 4 optimal layouts for your Vives and Rifts.
*Update as of 5/22/19*: Prospect is now also available on the Oculus Quest, Facebook's first true standalone VR headset - no desktop computer required. Prospect for Quest is perfect for reviewing smaller 3D models and files in a portable, wireless setting. Learn more about the headset and our integration with it here.
The Demo Room
We have a full room in our office that is equipped to host a VR demonstration using the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift with Prospect. The room offers a more private place to walk someone through virtual reality and is often used for presentations with guests visiting our office. If you are regularly hosting large groups at your office and having individuals enter VR, we recommend having a large TV that can mirror the experience for those watching outside of the headset.
The Work Station
This station has an HTC Vive with a carpeted area between lighthouses. The carpet helps create a tactile reference for the boundaries of movement within the office space. Since the station is positioned between our User Experience and Software Development tables - and everyone is able to see and hear the user who is in VR - we often use it for more collaborative sessions and for testing purposes.
The Desk Station
About 70% of our team has their own dedicated head mounted display (HMD) set up at their desk. We've found that the Oculus Rift lends itself well to use from a seated position, and we also have every Rift calibrated for use with the Oculus Touch.
Much of the development work and testing we're doing is iterative - as is the vast majority of architecture, engineering, and construction work - so it's imperative that our staff is able to quickly hop in and out of VR throughout the workday without leaving their desk.
The Portable Demo
We have four MSI backpacks that each are able to carry an entire Oculus Rift demo setup, including the laptop and Oculus Touch. All components tuck neatly inside the bag including the Oculus Touch if you wrap the controllers in padding and place them between the Rift screen and head strap. As you can imagine, the tradeoff with this set up is the bag is heavy; we just count it as gym time.
When we're on the go with a HTC Vive, we have one additional bag that holds tripods with swivel mounts to easily set up lighthouses in any environment. For our portable HTC Vive setup, we mount the lighthouses on with this tripod pivot arm. It’s also important to have lens cleaner and sanitizer wipes handy to clean the gear between uses.
How Should I Set Up VR in My Office?
The Oculus Rift can be used while seated, which is perfect for those with limited room or individual employees working at their desks. However, if you have space to move around, an HTC Vive is preferred for its tracking accuracy and room-scale immersion. We’ve laid out some of the important considerations to keep in mind when adopting a VR setup in this article - and our team is always happy to answer questions.