November 3, 2021 – Oculus has this week announced that it is going to begin rolling out a new software update for its Quest line of virtual reality (VR) devices. Highlights of the v34 update include more versatile Voice Commands, a major upgrade the the Quest’s Guardian system with a new feature called ‘Space Sense’, plus, Android users will now be able to see their phone notifications in VR.
With v34, Voice Commands on Quest are being improved to make them more capable of handling everyday tasks, according to Oculus. Users can now pause and play media in Oculus TV and other select apps using their voice. Voice Commands can also now be used to show or hide stats in Oculus Move, open Settings tabs (e.g. jumping straight to WiFi options), and even to answer simple questions such as checking the weather for example.
A full list of Voice Commands that users can now utilize can be found here.
Android Phone Notifications
With Oculus’ v29 software update released in May, iOS users were able to see their phone notifications in VR. Now, the company is rolling out the same capabilities to Android users with v34. Users simply need to set-up Phone Notifications via the Oculus App, and then enable them via the Oculus App or their headset’s Settings menu. In-VR notifications will then appear for any mobile app that currently displays notifications on a user’s phone’s lock screen.
Furthermore, for users who share their devices and have set up Multi-User Accounts, notifications will be kept separate and secure from any secondary accounts on the same Quest device. Alternatively, users can always change the settings on either the Oculus App or in the headset and disable notification sharing.
Space Sense is an update to Quest’s Guardian system that enables users to see when objects or people intrude within their Guardian boundary. Other people, large pets, or objects that have been moved out of their usual spots will now be highlighted in users’ headsets, surrounded by a pink-ish glow.
According to Oculus, this feature has been much-requested, and the company is still actively working on and improving Space Sense. It is therefore being rolled out in v34 under the Experimental Features tab in the Quest’s settings.
Earlier this year, Oculus offered an experimental Passthrough API to developers, enabling them to create new mixed-reality experiences that incorporate virtual content into a user’s physical surroundings. Now, with the upcoming SDK release, developers will be able to ship their mixed-reality apps to both the Oculus Store and App Lab. Experiences from Unity Labs, Spatial, YouTube VR, and more will be available soon.
Oculus added that it is already working on the next generation of related technologies, including spatial anchors, scene understanding, and the rest of its Presence Platform’s capabilities that will put the company’s technology more in line with its metaverse vision.
Finally, Oculus added that it is hoping to have one more software update out before the end of 2021, with more details on that to follow.
Image / video credit: Oculus / YouTube
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.