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Bloomberg Testing Productivity App For Oculus Rift 38

Nerval's Lobster writes: So far, the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has found its most widespread use in gaming. But as the device rises in prominence, more companies are testing its capabilities as a work tool. Bloomberg is one of those companies, having designed software that allows Oculus-equipped traders and financial pros to view dozens of virtual "screens," each one packed with data. The platform is clearly aimed at those Masters of the Universe who stack their real-world desks with four, six or eight screens—the better to take the pulse of the markets. Think of it as a traditional Bloomberg terminal on steroids. "This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace," Nick Peck, a Bloomberg employee responsible for creating the software, told Quartz. "I really wanted to explore how virtual reality could solve one of the most basic problems we hear about: limited screen real estate." A virtual-reality Bloomberg terminal isn't the only practical application proposed by Oculus Rift users: earlier this year, the Norwegian Armed Services began testing whether the hardware could be used to drive tanks, on the supposition that off-the-shelf cameras and a headset built for virtual gaming could prove cheaper than custom-built military equipment.
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Bloomberg Testing Productivity App For Oculus Rift

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  • Of hedge fund managers battling it out with golden swords. The winner gets a Bag of Holding stuffed with Swiss francs.

    • Hedge fund managers battling isn't nearly as terrifying as the reality of them colluding

      • Why would hedge fund managers collude? The whole point is to get in front of everyone else.

        • by sribe ( 304414 )

          Why would hedge fund managers collude? The whole point is to get in front of everyone else.

          DING! DING! DING! We have a winner for today's "common sense comment" award!

          But really, there's a whole lot of people who truly believe that the hedge funds are trying to screw individual investors like themselves, and are colluding to do so. Nonsense. They don't cooperate to fleece a particular set of victims, they all try to fleece whomever they possibly can, including each other.

          • It's High Frequency Traders, not Hedge Funds, that do the front running. If you going to slander people make sure you slander the right people.

            • by sribe ( 304414 )

              It's High Frequency Traders, not Hedge Funds, that do the front running. If you going to slander people make sure you slander the right people.

              Well, OK then. Maybe HFTers front-run, maybe they don't. It's a near certainty that they don't all do that. It's also an absolute certainty that front-running requires cooperation from a brokerage/clearing house. It's also a certainty that at least one brokerage has been caught red-handed doing that (sorry, I do not recall details). So, the real front-running problem is dishonest brokerages not processing orders strictly in the sequence they're submitted--regardless of whether that's in collusion with a hed

              • Why would "rapidly placed and cancelled orders" by itself effect the market? It is because they are front running.

                What you said was true but this is no longer true since the SEC has required brokers to operate on a best price instead of a best execution for trading. I will point you to Michael Lewis's "Flash Boys" – there are summaries floating out on the web. Because there are now multiple markets, a HFT can tease out information on a big order by offering a low price on a small lot (or, as you imply

    • by Scowler ( 667000 )
      I imagined a little different. I imagined watching the Bloomberg Oculus Rift Business News Cable Channel. Complete with 40 live scrolling tickers, 10 simultaneous real-time stock market charts, 5 talking heads on the side incomprehensibly shouting over each other, 1 giant random talking head in the center saying something inane about company XYZ, and me getting a headache, a headache which was not induced by any system or motion lag.
  • This one, specifically:

    http://www.sivatherium.narod.r... []

    Far from hard sci-fi but an entertaining read for sure.

  • I've wondered if there was a VR Head Set out there that would immulate multiple screens. So that when I turn my head, that I would see the other screens. That I would buy NOW.
    • This is actually the use case I'm more interested in.

      Oculus pushing up the resolution of VR means we are creeping closer and closer to this being reality, and that's honestly more interesting to me then any amount of immersive gaming. Right now I'm typing this on a system with 3 monitors - when I'm coding something, I usually end up completely filling all those monitors - I have a preview/IRC on one, 3 text editors in the middle, debugging and project navigation on the other plus however many miscellaneous

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        The problem is resolution.

        If you think about it, even with the greatly improved version of the dev kit, you are still only dealing with 960 x 1080. I imagine this would make it terrible for reading text or fine information spread out over a large visual area. You'd end up having to move your head just while reading one screen, let alone be able to see multiple screens effectively at the same time. At that point, you may as well just use virtual desktops and switch between them.

        In real life, this problem hap

        • I'm a trifle surprised that nobody has used the gaze-tracking technology that is quite widely available and not-too-wildly expensive, commonly used for UI and website optimization work, to determine how the user's focus moves through the design, to help address the too many monitors for one field of view problem...

          If you know where somebody's gaze is resting, and you know how their head is oriented, you can determine how close to the edge of their comfortable field of view they are. If the giant-wall-of-
          • Backlight strobing and low persistence is related to this. You can't scroll the view around a monitor in a lively fashion without making it impossible to read at the moment.

        • Worse. Field of view.

          While the idea of a 360 virtual VR monitor setup is great, the FOW is so narrow, it's like watching your single monitor setup through a small pipe. (or one of this toy masks with tiny holes for the eyes) It's currently the opposite of the overview a multi monitor setup gives you. You're supposed to recognize the small red warmning light on a peripheral monitor from the corner of your eye and THEN turn your focus from the central monitor a a reaction to it. That's currently not possible

  • Allowing skimmers to take more while they contribute nothing.

    • The problem with arguments like this is that if it's truly as easy as you make it sound, WHY isn't everyone doing it?

  • by dkman ( 863999 )
    I know I read about the tank thing before, and I was thinking "how hard would it be to knock out the cameras". Now reading this I can picture the next tank warfare thing being the equivalent of paintballs to blind the cameras.

    Though the same sort of issue is true in self driving cars. If I don't have inner controls to take over manually what happens if some sensor goes out?
    • Probably crash into something and die, just as if some delicate blood vessel in the driver's brain gave out (and/or he was texting).

      As for the tank thing, it only looks like a major vulnerability if you consider the alternative: If you want to see out, you'll need a hole or a window. Even fancy exotic glazing materials are inferior to armor that doesn't have to be transparent, and holes are obviously not terribly protective. Cameras, especially with assorted lenses and clever image processing tricks, can
      • by dkman ( 863999 )
        All very true, good points. I was just thinking that not all of the devices need to be cameras in the traditional sense, but sensors.

        If a backup camera on a car gets rain on it seeing becomes difficult, but rain on a "blind spot detector" doesn't cause a problem (to my knowledge).

        So if you have a sensor that can "see" through a mud caking then you've got yourself a winner. Place that in conjunction with a camera so i can see in a traditional sense and fall back on the sensor when needed, or have the s
  • Is it really a 'productivity' application if it's just used for shoveling financial instruments around in exotic ways?
  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:49PM (#47217711)

    So, you've got a truly great immersive display, and you're using it to display virtual screens?

    That's... that's right up there with using a 4K display to more faithfully render the green characters of an old 3270 terminal. Or using your surround-sound system to accurately reproduce the noises of a manual typewriter. Or telling your autonomous car where to go by using a steering wheel and accelerator to drive a little virtual car along a 3-D map.

    For Rockefeller's sake, you've got a display system that can render any 2D or 3D object! Can't you find someone with a little more imagination than the people who say "OMG, I can have a virtual screen for every spreadsheet ever!"?

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      It's a PR stunt, nothing more. That, or design-by-manager, which is about twice as bad as design-by-committee, because with a committee, you have a small chance that there's someone on it who knows a thing or two.

  • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:50AM (#47219647)
    "Think of it as a traditional Bloomberg terminal on steroids."

    So it looks pretty cool, is pretty much useless and has shrunken testicles?

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