For months, Bloomberg has been developing a Oculus Rift version of its financial terminals, famous for showing off up-to-the-second data as directly as possible. This month, Quartz's Zach Seward got a chance to sit down with the virtual terminal, offering an early hands-on with one of the Oculus Rift's most practical applications yet.
"How virtual reality can be applied in the workplace."
According to Seward, the result takes the standard multi-monitor setup to extreme new heights. The virtual terminal starts with 20 screens in a curved array, floating above a starry desktop. In usual Bloomberg style, each one is as data-rich as possible, showing bar graphs, dense headlines and an endless river of stock quotes. Since Seward was watching them through the Rift, he could zoom in to view them individually or stand back to watch for activity — and because it all happened in virtual space, there was no limit to the number of screens he could add in.
Look, a prototype of Bloomberg on Oculus... infinite monitors on your desk... pic.twitter.com/4Vwo4Zttsu— Roy Bahat (@roybahat) May 12, 2014
An early version of the setup was demoed back in May with former Microsoft leader Steven Sinofsky. For the moment, the demo still requires a mouse, but Bloomberg says it's experimenting with a Leap Motion to see if they can enable gesture-based controls. "At this point, Oculus and its major proponents have all talked about the application of virtual reality in the gaming and entertainment industries," Bloomberg's Nick Peck told Quartz. "This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace."