Home PC News Researchers bring Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel into VR

Researchers bring Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel into VR

If your desires sometimes contain spreadsheets that stretch endlessly in all instructions, excellent news: Researchers have developed a virtual reality spreadsheet interface that might increase Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel information from flat screens into 3D areas, and quite than being nightmare-inducing, it might truly make spreadsheet apps extra usable than earlier than.

While conventional spreadsheets have been restricted by the boundaries of 2D home windows and shows, the analysis group envisions VR opening up adjoining 2D workspaces for associated content material, then utilizing 3D for the whole lot from floating menus to cell choice and repositioning. In one instance, a VR headset mirrors the view of 1 spreadsheet web page displayed on a bodily pill, whereas two digital sheets sit to the left and proper, allowing drag and drop entry to their cells, and an summary hovers above the pill. Alternately, tablet-surrounding areas might show helpful reference supplies, expanded views of formulation, or the complete assortment of a spreadsheet’s pages, displayed as floating previews.

Fans of the movie Minority Report and portrayals of equally holographic future 3D interfaces will respect the group’s use of a floating pie menu — full with a drop shadow on the spreadsheet — for choosing options and features, in addition to spherical quite than flat buttons, and different visible components that seem to leap off the flat pages. The 3D spreadsheet workspace is also prolonged with floating desktop objects, comparable to a digital trash can, to make disposing of undesirable content material extra intuitive.

Interestingly, the undertaking’s analysis group consists of members of the Mixed Reality Lab at Germany’s Coburg University, in addition to a professor from the University of Cambridge, and two principal researchers from Microsoft — combined actuality knowledgeable Eyal Ofek and UX engineer Michel Pahud. But their work isn’t restricted to potential Microsoft purposes: The paper’s writer Dr. Jens Grubert tells VentureBeat that the cross-organizational group consists of “long time collaborators,” and truly used Google Sheets quite than Excel for the backend.

In addition to an HTC Vive Pro VR headset and Microsoft Surface Pro Four pill, the researchers employed a spatially tracked stylus, enabling precision direct enter for spreadsheet interactions whereas including the liberty of in-air motion inside a 3D house. Unsurprisingly, the VR spreadsheets can be utilized on current commodity PC {hardware}, and the digital UI was created with the Unity engine. Sheets pages are rendered inside Chromium browser home windows to match the decision and dimension of the Surface Pro 4’s display screen.

Full particulars on the undertaking can be found within the research paper, “Pen-based Interaction with Spreadsheets in Mobile Virtual Reality.” If you’re involved in deeper dives, you possibly can see a video of the project here, and a broader exploration of the group’s VR-tablet research here, forward of their presentation on the IEEE’s International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality from November 9 to 13.

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