The AR/Virtual Reality revolution underway is bound to change how we interact with the world

The impact of Virtual Reality and Immersive technologies in general will be great and far-reaching. It can be only likened to the revolution brought about the printing press.

the Movie Matrix was a good example of what living in virtual reality would be like

There have only been two changes of interface in the entire human history: the first one was the printing press (taking us from verbal communication to written) and the second one was the screen (from physical to digital). AR is poised to be a change of equal significance.

Mixed Reality – No telling what’s real

VR and AR will converge into a medium where users will be able to select their level of immersion, and it will probably be called mixed reality.

The industry is about to blow up. Immersive technologies are an inevitable change, and the industry is growing well, despite what some reports claim.

The Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset promises to be the kind of democratizer of mixed reality – as the Ocolus Go has been for VR – mainly due to its agreeable price point (Best Buy is offering it for the full price of $399.99.).

The headset delivers 1,440 x 1,440 resolution for each eye, and six degrees of freedom in vision and movement.

It also packs a solid gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer tracking sensors to let you move and interact with your environment.

As for apps to feed this puppy, Steam is a good place to start.

VR getting it on. Are you?

The industry is now in second half of the slope of enlightenment of the hype cycle. We have seen tremendous progress in the past 2 years, following

Moore’s law: screen resolution doubling and headset price cut in half. Oculus Go was released at a $200 price point, and the Magic Leap One will give customers a first glimpse of the AR future.

400 M people currently have access to smartphone AR, which holds a huge potential 

On the software side, content is growing 400% year-on-year, 400M people have access to smartphone AR, and Apple reports over 13M downloads of ARKit apps.

Even though the immersive revolution may take a bit longer than expected – but then, it will suddenly explode in no time at all.

Virtual Reality – tricking your mind

Virtual reality blocks of the reality and takes you to a different place. The medium offers tremendous opportunity in the design space, for example, in car manufacturing.

What they are looking for, on the Virtual Reality side, is to be able to validate the design decision very quickly.

Previously, in the automotive industry, when you wanted to verify a shape or design of a car, you would commission an appearance model of the car.

That takes weeks, and a minimum of hundreds of thousands can be spent on this process. And then, if this appearance model isn’t right the whole process starts again with new iterations.

If it isn’t raining, it’s not VR training

The value of training and education, via Virtual Reality, should also be emphasized. Virtual reality offers practically endless opportunities for training scenarios. And now the eye tracking capability allows validation automatically as part of the training session.

VR pilot training simulations are saving the industry time and money.

Virtual Reality simulations are already widely embraced by the aviation industry and the military

Virtual Reality makes training much more efficient. In the aerospace industry, for example, the simulators cost easily in excess of $10 million, with cost-per-hour in several thousands.

The high cost of training limits the time pilots spend in these simulators. But once you go virtual, the problem is solved.

In addition to the myriad of other life and cost-saving applications, AR and Virtual Reality will offer a completely new creative medium – “an artist’s dream to build worlds, pixel by pixel,” according to Drue Kataoka, an artist and technologist.

Augmenting your boring reality  

Augmented reality technology still lets you see the real world – with digital objects in it.

AR is on its way to become humanity’s personal assistant. Over the next decade, AR will establish itself as the greatest productivity tool ever invented, removing the attention switch – looking back and forth between the device and the world.

AR is helping engineers in real time to shorten the time needed to take a prototype to market

AR is finding a broad application in the automotive industry, eliminating the need for time-consuming modelling

Putting money where its mount is, Magic Leap, a pioneer of augmented reality has raised more than 2.3 billion USD to develop its light field technology that digitally mimics the light hitting our eyes from the outside world.

This allows you to see the real world in addition to virtual 3D images. It uses camera and other sensors to track surfaces

AR Cloud – Global VR Matrix

Presently, AR experiences cannot be shared. AR needs a Cloud to become a persistent layer.

In the near future, AR content will be persistent in time, meaning that a digital car will stay in my garage until I move it, even if I go away in the meantime – and others will be able to see it, too.

AR/mixed reality will be best-served by storing all virtual objects in the cloud

One way to make the AR/Virtual Reality, mixed reality world to stick to store all the objects in a cloud

To make this possible, the experience needs to be streamed from a special cloud – the AR Cloud. The AR cloud is a digital layer on top of the real world that will eventually mesh the entire surface of the globe, to be able to place persistent objects at scale.

Building this giant database of virtual items requires a completely new way to approach the cloud, and at the time of this writing, several companies are working on it.

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