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Immersive Technology (VR, AR, MR, XR, The Metaverse)

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[Tower Bridge, London, UK]

 

 

- Immersive Technology

 Immersive technology refers to technology that attempts to emulate a physical world through the means of a digital or simulated world, thereby creating a sense of immersion. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augment Reality (AR) applications currently suffer from bottleneck due to low bandwidths (4G LTE). With higher bandwidth (5G and Beyond), VR and AR headsets could be completely wireless.

The future of Immersive Technology (AR and VR) depends on reliable mobile wireless 5G (and beyond) networks. These technologies require a less expensive, wider network with lower latency to continue developing and reaching widespread adoption, as they require massive amounts of data processing.

A fully immersive, perceptually-real environment will consist of following components:

  • Perception
  • Interaction
  • Software.

 

- Perception

Have you wondered why you see a black and blue dress, but your friend insists that it is white and gold? Perception is the process by which the brain gathers and interprets information about the world that it receives through our senses. But perception is much more than a passive relay of information from your eyes and ears to your brain. Instead, your brain interprets the information sent from your sensory organs, and actively creates your perception of the world. Despite the ease with which you are able to see and hear the world around you, this process is actually extremely complex. 

The following hardware technologies are developed to stimulate one or more of the five senses to create perceptually-real sensations.

  • Vision: (3D display, Fulldome, Head-mounted display, Holography).
  • Auditory: (3D audio effect, High-resolution audio, Surround sound).
  • Tactile: (Haptic technology)
  • Olfaction: (Machine olfaction)
  • Gustation: (Artificial flavor)


- Interaction

VR has three distinct characteristics: interaction, immersion, and imagination. Interaction refers to the natural interaction between the user and the virtual scene. It provides the users with the same feeling as the real world through feedback. 

The following technologies provide the ability to interact and communicate with the virtual environment.

  • Brain–computer interface
  • Gesture recognition
  • Omnidirectional treadmill
  • Speech recognition

 

- Software

Virtual and augmented reality headsets are designed to place wearers directly into other environments, worlds and experiences. While the
technology is already popular among consumers for its immersive quality, there could be a future where the holographic displays look even more like real life. 

Software interacts with the hardware technology to render the virtual environment and process the user input to provide dynamic, real-time response. To achieve this, software often integrates components of artificial intelligence and virtual worlds.

Research in VR is concerned with computing technologies that allow humans to see, hear, talk, think, learn, and solve problems in virtual and augmented environments. Research in AI addresses technologies that allow computing machines to mimic these same human abilities. Although these two fields evolved separately, they share an interest in human senses, skills, and knowledge production. Thus, bringing them together will enable us to create more natural and realistic virtual worlds and develop better, more effective applications. Ultimately, this will lead to a future in which humans and humans, humans and machines, and machines and machines are interacting naturally in virtual worlds, with use cases and benefits we are only just beginning to imagine.
 

- VR

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) has brought many solutions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for collaboration to take place. With the capability to minimize training time and enable remote assistance, these new digital trends are expected to grow even more as the demand for technology increases in the market. With the extended reality (XR) revolution already underway, it’s easy to envision a future in which the lines between the real world and the virtual world become even more blurred than they are today. 

Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) are emerging technologies utilizing a variety of digital (artificial) immersion and overlays on the real world that users can interact with. To cut a long story short, here’s the difference between virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies: 

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment. VR encompasses immersive experiences and content via a VR headset or HMD (head-mounted display). The content is 100% digital and computer generated. Current reality is replaced with a new 3D digital environment in which the user is isolated from the real world.

 

- AR, MR, and XR

Augmented Reality (AR) overlays virtual objects on the real-world environment. Augmented reality (AR) overlays computer-generated content on top of the real world. This superimposed digital overlay can superficially interact with the environment in real time. AR is primarily experienced via a wearable glass device or through smartphone applications.

Mixed Reality (MR) brings together real world and digital elements. In MR, you interact with and manipulate both physical and virtual items and environments, using next-generation sensing and imaging technologies. MR allows you to see and immerse yourself in the world around you even as you interact with a virtual environment using your own hands - all without ever removing your headset. It provides the ability to have one foot (or hand) in the real world, and the other in an imaginary place, breaking down basic concepts between real and imaginary, offering an experience that can change the way you game and work today.

Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term that encompasses all real and virtual environments which include VR, AR and MR. 
  

- The Metaverse

The Metaverse is an iteration of the Internet part of shared virtual reality, often as a form of social media. The metaverse in a broader sense may not only refer to virtual worlds operated by social media companies but the entire spectrum of augmented reality. The term arose in the early 1990s, and has come to be criticised as a method of public relations building using a purely speculative, "over-hyped" concept based on existing technology.

In the vision for the metaverse articulated by social media and technology companies, devices like virtual reality headsets, digital glasses, smartphones, and other devices will allow users access to 3-D virtual or augmented reality environments where they can work, connect with friends, conduct business, visit remote locations, and access educational opportunities, all in an environment mediated by technology in new and immersive ways.

Facebook has changed (in October, 2021) its name to "Meta" in a shift away from social media and towards developing "the metaverse," a digital world that could be the next generation of the internet, as a virtual environment that will allow people to be present with each other in digital spaces.

Within the metaverse, you're going to be able to hang out, play games with friends, work, create, and more. You're basically going to be able to do everything that you can on the internet today as well as some things that don't make sense on the internet today, like dancing.

 
 

 [More to come ...]

 

 

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