Meta Quest 2: "Skygaze" turns your room into an observatory
With the augmented reality app Skygaze, you can admire the starry sky without having to go outside.
At the touch of a button, your ceiling retracts to reveal the night sky. It's accurately simulated and calculates the position of stars and visible planets in our solar system based on geographic location and time.
When you click in the night sky, it reveals star constellations; when you select a planet, it comes closer and you can view it up close. There's also a planetarium, but that didn't work properly for me.
The AR app was released as a demo a few days ago and will have features in the full version that are not yet unlocked or in development here, such as a virtual telescope.
Meta's new AR interface creates new possibilities
This augmented reality trickery is made possible by a new interface that Meta released to developers a few weeks ago.
It allows Quest users to manually draw in walls, doors, windows and furniture. Apps that make use of the interface can thus better integrate the physical environment into the experience and, in the case of Skygaze, replace the ceiling or any other wall with digital elements.
In my test, this didn't work flawlessly. My room does not have a rectangular floor plan, which meant that I had to draw in virtual walls in Skygaze first. It would be nicer if all this worked automatically. Apple recently gave an impressive demonstration of what automatic room recognition could look like one day with its Room Plan interface.
Skygaze demo: Available for free in the App Lab
Skygaze emerged from Meta's XR hackathon last year. At the time, the AR app was called Stargazer and won third place. "I’ve used the prize money to develop this demo and make it freely available. I am hoping to develop it into a full app but it all depends on interest and funding," writes developer Emanuel Tomozei on Reddit.
For more great space experiences for virtual reality, see our article Space VR: The Best Experiences, Games, and Movies.