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There is no question in my mind that over the next few years headsets for VR and AR will become commonplace for anyone who works with text.

On terminology: The development of headsets is likely to continue with all having passthrough to move from VR to AR and some having an AR ‘first’ focus, such as Google Glass had. I don’t think the term ‘XR’ will be used much outside the industry though I fully expect the consumer to refer to ‘VR headsets’ and for this to become just ‘headsets’ over time, with even Apple’s Vision Pro headset being called just a ‘headset’, or the ‘Apple headset’.


The Future of Text in XR Initiative is our forum for exploring how powerful working in XR can be. We have started building XR Experiences in the Future Text Lab, which are available to try.


The importance of Now

The importance of now is huge. I feel quite strongly that it will be important to develop this entirely new, all-encompassing environment as thoughtfully as possible and not only based on the initial commercial explorations of big tech companies. We are the last generation to not work at least part of the time in XR. We should fully unfurl our imagination and support the dreaming of those who will follow us. We cannot afford XR to be as ossified as the PC has become.


Issues to overcome

Issues to overcome for VR to become commonplace include hardware work to reduce the screen door effect so that reading text becomes pleasant, reduction in weight for comfort for longer sessions, better battery life and lower cost.

The most important and surprising issue is the lack of good onboarding or information integration. Instant access to the user’s information landscape and colleagues is needed, and I do expect Apple to make some major advances here.

As a developer I feel that I can add real value by simply having my own software, Author and Reader, be able to spawn virtual ‘displays’, not only windows, in a VR environment for example. Initial ‘wins’ for working in VR does not have to be mind benignly advanced, they just need to be mind expandingly useful.



Opportunities initially include space, space and more space to think and work.

Beyond this there is almost limitless potential for text and information interaction in general, something we have only started to scratch the virtual surface of.

Embodies cognition will be something very different in a decade…


– Brief Demonstrations of Current Experiments –

Concept Map in Author, which becomes a connected Glossary in PDF with Visual-Meta as used on macOS. The potential for porting to visionOS is truly powerful:


Simple & robust citing using Visual-Meta in Author & Reader (more information):


Flexible views based on Visual-Meta in PDF (more information):


Colour Keywords, still in testing:



 – Brief Sketch of possible elements for Text Work in Computational Space –

The same view and interactions can be supported for both authoring & reading when Visual-Meta is included in the document.

Not shown is the user’s Library which can take many forms but will be connected to all their documents, shown at will. This may be implemented as a full space, which the user will enter at will. Also not shown are snippets of work, notes and images from the document presented in external windows.



The interactions for basic reading have been prototyped and experimented with to experience in currently available headsets, such as the Quest Pro. So far the outcome is that we can go much father but it will remain crucial for the initial work layout will be intuitive and not confusing or overwhelming for the user. This work is of course ongoing.


Further VR explorations have been carried out in The Future Text Lab.


the future of text, the future of thought, is richly multidimensional