Posted by Vivek Sharma, Vice President, Horizon
Published February 4, 2022
Today, we’re announcing Personal Boundary for Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues. Personal Boundary prevents avatars from coming within a set distance of each other, creating more personal space for people and making it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. Personal Boundary will begin rolling out today everywhere inside of Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, and will by default make it feel like there is an almost 4-foot distance between your avatar and others. Over time, we’ll continue to make improvements as we learn how this affects people’s experiences.
HOW IT WORKS
A Personal Boundary prevents anyone from invading your avatar’s personal space. If someone tries to enter your Personal Boundary, the system will halt their forward movement as they reach the boundary. You won’t feel it—there is no haptic feedback. This builds upon our existing hand harassment measures that were already in place, where an avatar’s hands would disappear if they encroached upon someone’s personal space.
Note that the Personal Boundary won’t be visible like you see in the screenshot. The purpose of this screenshot is to illustrate the concept of the new Personal Boundary.
SETTING NEW NORMS FOR SOCIAL VR
We are intentionally rolling out Personal Boundary as always on, by default, because we think this will help to set behavioral norms—and that’s important for a relatively new medium like VR. In the future, we’ll explore the possibility of adding in new controls and UI changes, like letting people customize the size of their Personal Boundary.
Note that because Personal Boundary is the default experience, you’ll need to extend your arms to be able to high-five or fist bump other people’s avatars in Horizon Worlds or in Horizon Venues.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Virtual reality can and should be for everyone. And we’re constantly working to improve people’s experience in VR, gathering feedback from the community to inform our work as we continue to iterate and make improvements.
We believe Personal Boundary is a powerful example of how VR has the potential to help people interact comfortably. It’s an important step, and there’s still much more work to be done. We’ll continue to test and explore new ways to help people feel comfortable in VR.