×

Spatial Debuts ‘Minority Report’-Inspired Augmented Reality Collaboration Tool

Hollywood gave them the idea for their product. Now, their product could help Hollywood come up with new ideas: New York-based augmented reality (AR) startup Spatial came out of stealth Wednesday with a new collaboration tool that seems like taken straight out of “Minority Report.”

Spatial’s 3D workspaces allow users to hold distributed meetings with the help of AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Part video conference, part futuristic 3D white board, Spatial allows collaborators to exchange pictures, notes and ideas in a 3D space, complete with avatars to represent remote collaborators.

“We like movie UIs,” said Spatial co-founder and CEO Anand Agarawala during a recent interview with Variety. “Minority Report” and other movies with futuristic interfaces captured his and his co-founder’s imagination, he recalled. “We wondered: How can we bring this to normal people?”

The result is a collaboration service that lets users import photos and documents from their smartphones, web search results and more. Users can even integrate virtual 3D objects into their meetings. It also allows users without AR headsets to participate from their laptops, and is set up to incorporate VR headsets as well.

The result is a better meeting experience that’s more like being in the same room, said Agarawala, whose team has been internally beta-testing its own service for some time. “We’ve been having meetings in Spatial for 8 months.”

To be fair, Spatial isn’t quite as advanced as the technology in “Minority Report.” The collaboration service still suffers from the narrow field of view of current-generation AR headsets, making it hard to look at just a few documents at a time.

Plus, using AR headsets isn’t exactly comfortable over extended periods of time. But Agarawala expressed optimism that these problem would get solved with future device versions: “That’s gonna get better over time.”

At that point, Spatial could also become a viable solution for movie studios looking for more secure solutions for their storyboarding — something that’s of particular concern for unannounced projects that could get leaked by rogue cleaning staff, or anyone else equipped with a cell phone camera.

Those problems don’t exist anymore if any of the notes and sketches pinned to the walls of a conference room only exist in augmented reality. Said Agarawala: “Anyone walking by doesn’t see anything.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • netflix latest section

    Netflix Adds Upcoming Titles Section to Its TV App (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix is making it easier to keep track of all of its new releases: The company is adding a new “Latest” section to its TV app that includes both listings of newly released titles, as well as movies and TV show seasons that will be released this week and the week after. Upcoming titles are [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    Chinese Streamer iQIYI Squeezed by Changing Content Context

    Chinese video streaming giant iQIYI saw its losses deepen, in the April to June second quarter of its financial year. The company grew subscriptions, but was hit by rising content costs and lower advertising revenue Its parent company, Chinese search leader, Baidu saw its year on year profits drop, though it recovered from loss in [...]

  • westworld awakening art

    HBO Launches 'Westworld Awakening' VR Game With Survios

    Ever wanted to enter the world of “Westworld?” Now you can — except it won’t exactly be like you might have imagined it. Instead of being one of those guests living out their fantasies, you will be a host, slowly coming to grips with your life being an elaborate illusion. “Westworld Awakening” has been produced [...]

  • Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan,

    Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan, at No Charge in U.S. and U.K.

    Just days after reports emerged that Spotify is aiming to increase the price of its family plan in its home market of Scandinavia, the streaming giant announced an upgrade to the plan — with no price increase in the U.S. and U.K., where it remains at $14.99 and £15, respectively. A rep for the company [...]

  • Mike Vaughan

    Former Venmo COO Mike Vaughan Joins Stem's Board

    Los Angeles-based music distribution and payments startup Stem has appointed former Venmo executive Mike Vaughan to its board of directors. Vaughan was chief operating officer of Venmo from 2011 until earlier this year, and is now executive in residence at Oak HC/FT. “The music industry can benefit tremendously from innovation in the way money flows [...]

  • Streamy Awards

    Streamy Awards 2019 Return to YouTube for Exclusive Live-Stream

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards will again be available to stream live on YouTube exclusively. The 2019 awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Friday, Dec. 13 and will stream live globally on YouTube via youtube.com/streamys. Videos from the 2018 Streamy Awards received over 6.9 million views on YouTube. [...]

  • Stefan Heinrich Henriquez - Cameo

    Celeb Video-Shoutout Startup Cameo Hires Ex-TikTok Exec Stefan Heinrich Henriquez

    Cameo, a startup that lets consumers purchase video shoutouts from celebrities, tapped Stefan Heinrich Henriquez as chief marketing officer and general manager of international. Heinrich, most recently head of marketing for short-form video app TikTok, will lead the company’s global growth and branding and play a key role in Cameo’s continued global expansion. He’s based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content