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Turn Any Space into a Mixed Reality Stargazing Lounge with This New VR App

Stargazing, the brand-new app on Oculus Quest 2 presents an exciting mixed reality experience of outer space.

When Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will henceforth be known as Meta, he also unveiled a host of new technologies and innovations that will help usher in the metaverse. Among them all, the most notable was the introduction of Passthrough API Experimental, which is arguably going to be a game-changer in the domain of immersive experiences. As expected, it opened the door of unforeseen possibilities for developers around the world. Harnessing the power of Oculus Quest Passthrough+ technology, they have presented the world with one fascinating immersive content after another. Subsequently, these immersive mixed reality experiences have blended the boundary between the real and virtual world, taking a step closer to the metaverse.

Among all the innovations that were built using the Passthrough API Experimental, the one that created quite the buzz is called Stargazing. It is a mind-blowing MR experience that places retractable walls in various parts of real-world spaces. These walls will slide open with simple voice commands and lead you into outer space, letting you on the vast cosmos and explore different galaxies, solar systems, and so on. You can watch the stars, planets, asteroids, and more heavenly bodies from the comfort of your home with Stargazing.

Emanuel Tomozei, a promising XR developer from London created Stargazing as a submission for the Facebook XR Hackathon. His app is a prime example of how Passthrough API Experimental and MR technology could be used as a meditative or educational tool. As well as how voice commands and hand gestures could play an instrumental role in mixed reality experiences.

Meeting Hackathon’s requirements, Tomozei published a video demonstrating how Stargazing works with simple voice commands and hand gestures. In this video, he has seen him raising his hand to bring forward the menu of the app, and then saying the words “open roof”. The command results in the app retracting the ceiling of his roof and exposing the nearest constellation. He further moves to the nearest window and commands the app to “open window”, and the wall slides down to reveal a bunch of shooting stars flying past him. The mixed reality experience, however, is not limited to visuals alone. At one point he commands the app to “play music” and soothing stargazing music fills in the room.

In order to bring this stunning mixed reality experience to life, Tomozei created a celestial sphere by gathering a database of over 7000 stars and their systems, complete with their magnitudes and real-world positions. He also created labels for the constellations so that you would exactly know what you are looking at.

To enjoy this mesmerising stargazing experience, the app requires you to overlay virtual windows and walls over your real-world space. This could be done in-headset using Quest Passthrough mode. Tomozei said that the app will introduce more features and additional educational elements in the future.

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