You can kind of try visionOS in VR now without Vision Pro

Have a Meta Quest sitting around? You can now experience a rough estimation of what using visionOS on an actual headset will be like. No need to spend $3,500 on Vision Pro or whatever the going rate for a time machine to next year costs these days.

After years of progress and anticipation, Apple unveiled Vision Pro one month ago ahead of its US launch in early 2024. Developers preparing apps for the mixed reality headset can run a two-dimensional simulation of visionOS on the Mac. Apple will also be holding special sessions around the world so developers can try their apps on actual hardware before the product reaches customers.

If you’re not one of these developers or Chance Miller, the folks at Supernova Technologies have created a basement bargain discount version of “visionOS” that runs on the virtual reality headsets.

Aside from doing this for science, Supernova is showing off its Nova user interface framework for Unity developers and designers. David Heanley at UploadVR has the story:

The demo places the app grid seen in the Vision Pro introduction video in front of you with Quest Pro’s color passthrough as the background, and replicates Apple’s gaze and pinch based interaction system.

The demo leverages Quest Pro’s eye tracking to let you select apps or the menu items on the left, and its controller-free hand tracking to let you pinch to “click”.

The knockoff version of visionOS won’t run on the cheaper Quest 2 or pre-announced Quest 3, however, because it relies on Meta’s eye tracking feature, which is only available on Quest Pro hardware.

If you don’t already have a Quest Pro handy, we wouldn’t recommend running out and buying the thousand-dollar headset just for this demo. It sounds like an interesting way to see and control something that looks like visionOS, but the use of controllers to replicate air gestures for selection will break any illusion.

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