Discover more from Building Softspace
Welcome to SoftspaceAR
Building the next Softspace in public.
Softspace harnesses spatial computing to help thinkers and makers better see, understand, and develop the ideas that form the heart of their creative projects.
To me, augmented reality has always made more sense than virtual reality for general-purpose productivity, because full immersion isn't ideal in many professional settings.
But see-through augmented reality (e.g. HoloLens) is really hard, and a truly mainstream headset built around this tech is still years away. Until recently, I believed that virtual reality was the only viable medium for Softspace for the foreseeable future.
Last summer, Oculus released their Passthrough API. After playing with it for a few days, I was shocked to realize that even today’s crappy passthrough is good enough to build great tools on.
It's a complete game-changer.
There's now a clear path forward for augmented reality software. Today's grainy grayscale passthrough will lead to tomorrow's hi-res low-latency full-color passthrough—which may even prove superior to see-through smartglasses.
The user experience advantages of AR for general-purpose productivity are massive.
One software update suddenly brought mainstream head-mounted AR into existence.
So we're starting work on SoftspaceAR.
Since 2018, we’ve built three major versions of the Softspace VR app, and shipped two. I could not be more proud of the love, energy, and vision that has gone into each.
If there were one thing I could change, however, it would be this: I would have released earlier and oftener, to cover more of the vast possibility space that we face.
Therefore: to build SoftspaceAR, we’re using an open-development model to quickly test a much wider range of ideas than we’ve been able to do before.
Over the coming months, we will release 5–10 prototypes to explore and (in)validate promising ways to harness augmented reality as a medium for thought.
These will be standalone apps that use the same core interaction paradigm, but are otherwise free to start from different points in the product idea maze.
This process is about learning, not polish. I'm aiming to release something every few weeks.
In fact… 🥁🥁🥁
The very first prototype is already here!
SoftspaceAR Prototype01 is an augmented reality Dropbox spatializer you explore with your hands.
Go ahead and get Prototype01 for free, then join our Discord and let me know:
🤔 What you think of Prototype01
🧠 How you'd like to use Softspace
💡 Cool ideas for future prototypes
I'll be publishing the prototypes, as well as what we learn from each, on this Substack.
I expect the first few prototypes to be all over the map, the next few to start converging on core underlying principles, and the last ones to build more deliberately on what came before.
At that point we'll be working toward the first release version of SoftspaceAR, which I intend to submit to the official Oculus app store by the end of September.
We're building an AR version of Softspace in public, and we'd love to have you join us by
👯♂️ joining our Discord