An AR Dropbox spatializer you explore with your hands.
Softspace harnesses spatial computing to help thinkers and makers better see, understand, and develop the ideas that form the heart of their creative projects.
The future of Softspace is in augmented reality. Although mainstream transparent-display AR headsets don’t exist yet, today’s passthrough AR is surprisingly good.
We’re building SoftspaceAR in public. Every few weeks, we’ll release a research prototype that explores a different part of the AR product idea maze.
Today we're releasing Prototype01. It's an augmented reality Dropbox spatializer that you explore with your hands.
Prototype01 implements several intriguing ideas that both our team and users have long wanted to test:
🕸 3D force-directed graphs
🗃 3D folder structure explorers
😎 Passthrough augmented reality
🤲🏼 Controller-less hand-tracked UI
Quick explanation of each below:
Force-directed graphs are an increasingly popular way to visualize information that consists of interconnected nodes. Apps like Roam and Obsidian have recently added them, where they seem marginally useful. But what if you could navigate one in 3D, immersively?
Previous versions of Softspace all had some way to browse a connected Dropbox account from which to import files. But we've often gotten the question: what if the file browser were the entire app, and you stepped straight into your Dropbox?
Augmented reality always made more sense for productivity than full-occlusion VR, but mainstream AR headsets seemed too far away to build for. After playing with the Oculus Passthrough API, I realized even today's crappy passthrough is good enough to build a great app on.
Oculus has also been steadily improving the hand-tracking capabilities of the Quest 2. It's not perfect, but it's already workable, and the steep rate of improvement makes me comfortable committing to a controller-less future for the Softspace interaction paradigm.
Prototype01 combines these ideas into a single research demo.
Try It For Free
0. If you haven't already, get your Quest set up to sideload apps from @SideQuestVR. This is great thing to do in general, because it lets you try out great indie software that isn't available yet on the main Oculus app store.
1. Connect your Quest to your computer and install SoftspaceAR Prototype01 from SideQuest.
2. Open Prototype01 on your Quest. Log into Dropbox using the web browser that appears. Click on the page by holding up your hand and touching your index finger to your thumb. Type by pressing the keyboard with your index fingers.
3. Once you're logged in, navigate to a Dropbox folder that you would like to spatialize. This prototype only loads in image files (jpg, png, etc), and it will load everything in every subfolder, so it's best to select an image-rich folder that not too large (<1000 images).
4. To navigate around, you can "grab" the virtual space by making a fist with one or both hands. One hands is for simple moving, while two hands let you rotate and scale the space.
5. You can also move, rotate, and scale objects. Select them in the same way that you clicked on the web browser: by hovering over them with your hand and touching your thumb and index finger together.
6. The next time you open Prototype01, you'll still be logged into the same Dropbox account, but you'll be able to select another (or the same) folder to spatialize. Alternatively, you can log out of Dropbox to clear your data.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please join our Discord and share them with us: