Pico 4 Spotlight hands-on: a must-have for VR demos in exhibitions

While everyone is focused on every minimal update on the Quest operating system, Pico has just added to its runtime a feature called Spotlight that makes it become the to-go device for VR demos in exhibitions and B2B settings. Let me tell you everything about it!

Pico 4 Spotlight – Video

I’ve come back to making videos, and I made a fantastic new Youtube video where I explain what is the Spotlight feature and why it is very handy when you have to demo a VR application to other people. You can watch it here below:

If you are a text person, instead, keep reading for the usual wall of text!

Additional features in Meta Casting

Casting what the user is seeing in a standalone headset to the phone is a feature that Meta introduced a few years ago. We are very thankful for this, because thanks to Casting, we can guide everyone we are demoing VR to by seeing what he is seeing mirrored on our smartphone. The Meta Quest app shows you the video stream of the headset, so you can help people that are in VR by giving them suggestions depending on what they have in front of their eyes. For instance, you notice that they are looking in another direction with regard to the one they should look at to see the content in an optimal way and you can suggest them to rotate the head.

This has been a life savior, because in the beginning, when demoing Quest, we had to ask people “what are you seeing?” and depending on that, give suggestions in the blind. Sometimes it was even necessary to take the headset, remove it from the user, and put it on our head to understand better what was happening.

Casting is great, but many people do not know that it is even much more than this. If you try to run Casting today, you would notice that there are many features that have been added to it. For instance, you can launch from the phone the tutorial of Meta Quest, called First Contact, so that the user can get used to the VR controllers if it is his first time with a headset on his head. Or you can launch a specific application from the headset catalog: thanks to this, you can make your friends try your Quest and open for them your favorite games to try without them having to fiddle with the headset main menu. You can even record a video of the experience for them, all from your phone.

Casting has amazing tools, which in my opinion are ideal for at-home demos: your friends come, they want to try the headset, so you make them try the tutorial, then you open Beat Saber, then your favorite games, and so on. You can control all the experience from the phone, and even shoot a short video for them to share on social media.

But all of this becomes less relevant for exhibitions, when you want a lot of people all to try the same app, and in the shortest time possible to avoid long lines. And it is here that Pico comes to the rescue.

Pico Screencast

Pico has introduced a feature that is identical to Casting in its companion app: it is called Casting, and it lets you mirror the content shown in the headset on your phone.

How to activate Screencast on the Pico VR companion app

Setting it up is very easy: you open the Pico VR app on your phone, you pair your Pico 4 headset, and then clicking on the Pico 4 listed in the Device tab of the application, you can select the “Screencast” button to start the mirroring.

Screencast, like Casting on Meta, has additional features that make it even more interesting. Let’s see them all:

Display Size: lets you change the mirroring form factor from 16:9 (rectangular) to 1:1 (square). Rectangular is more beautiful to see and record, but it is cropped. The square form factor, instead, shows you the real vision from a single eye on the headset.

VR Source: lets you select if you want to hear the audio from the headset or not. This feature is also present on Meta devices and can be handy in some contexts where audio is an integral part of the application and so listening to it you can guide better the user

Microphone: lets you speak to the person wearing the headset. The audio gets transmitted from the phone to the headset and will be played by the headset speakers

Spotlight: lets you highlight some specific elements of the VR experience by showing some flashing pointers in front of the user

Screencast application opened on my phone while playing a VRROOM concert on the headset. Notice on the right the 4 commands that you can activate during Screencast

The last two are what in my opinion make demoing in exhibitions ideal with the Pico 4.


The Microphone lets you speak on the phone to let the person with the headset hear you. Notice that this is not bidirectional: there is no way you can hear the person wearing the headset speaking in the HMD microphone through the phone app.

The microphone feature is very handy for demos where the environment around you is noisy (e.g. exhibitions), or when you put on the user some over-the-ear headphones that isolate him from the surroundings. In these cases, when you speak normally, it is difficult for the user to hear you because of the noise of the environment and the audio of the experience. With this feature, your voice is sent to the headset audio system, so the user hears you through the speakers very clearly. This is very important to give instructions and directions and pairs very gracefully with the new feature that is Spotlight.


Spotlight is a new feature that lets you point at objects on your phone to point at items in VR. So on your phone, while you see the casting, you can tap on the screen on something you want the user to look at (e.g. the button of a UI) and the user will see at that moment in VR some flashing circles exactly on that same object (the button of the UI inside VR).

Spotlight on the phone. I’m tapping the screen to activate flashing green circles on the menu (sorry for the potato quality of Giphy)

Spotlight in the VR headset: you see green flashing circles where the phone app is tapping the screen

There’s not much to explain, it just works: you tap, and the user sees some green flashing circles at that point. The circles are bright green and flash in a visible way, so it is impossible for the user not to be attracted to look at them. At the same time, they are not big and stay on the screen for just a few instants, so they are not obtrusive and they do not ruin the experience.

It’s an amazing feature because one of the most difficult things to do during a demo is for instance to explain what button on the UI to press to make something happen. With Spotlight, this becomes very handy. Through the microphone, you can say “Press the Main Menu button” and then you can make some green flashes appear on the main menu button in VR so that the user immediately understands what to do. This is much better than now when you need to explain to the user exactly what to activate by describing it.

Final opinion

I tried to use this system at home, and I verified that it is very effective to guide people in VR: the flashing lights are easy enough to understand that they can be used also with people that are not experts in virtual reality. I think this system is great for exhibitions and B2B demos because it makes the explanation of the application easy: the spotlight can not only be used to guide the user but also to redirect his eyes to make him/her look at a specific thing. This is great for sales pitches, for instance, because the salesman can make a full tour of the application, pointing at things through the phone and explaining them at the same time.

Probably the last thing missing to go full circle would be some feedback, e.g. haptics, on the buttons of the controllers. So when you say “press A”, or “press the trigger” and the user does not know what you are talking about, he can feel some vibration on the button to press. This would make guiding people in VR just perfect.

I love these new features, and I think that because of them, I will use more my Pico 4 to do demos for external people. If you have a Pico 4, I’d advise you to give a look at them, because maybe they could be useful for you, too.

(Header image by Pico)

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