Let’s Talk about the AR Cloud

Just a quick post about the AR Cloud and Magic Leap’s “Magicverse”.

The AR Cloud is how AR will become a viable platform. It’s being worked on by a variety of companies and individuals to standardize and enable a persistent mesh of the world that will provide shared AR experiences across the variety of devices and platforms. When this is available, augmented reality will be much more accessible and will allow the promise of AR to be realized. I suppose Pokemon Go is analogous, but at a much larger and more dynamic scale. Where Pokemon Go uses 2-dimensional maps of your surroundings to locate you and the Pokemon, the AR Cloud will provide a persistent 3D map of your surroundings, so content can live within the location and the mesh to be enjoyed and interacted with by anyone. Pokemon could hiding behind walls, in trees, or on a park bench, for example.

A local Portland company YouAR is one of the leading proponents and developers of the AR Cloud. Torch is another PDX company doing interesting things that will utilize the AR Cloud as it develops. One of the great things about Portland these days is the concentration of spatial computing start-ups and developers.

On the opposite side of the country, Magic Leap has introduced the idea of the “Magicverse”. They are thinking about the AR Cloud as distinct “verses” and they talk about building an open system to enable these verses. Think of a verse as an experience layer built around your space. There may be several different layers built that can be experienced when you want or need them. Entertainment, Health and Wellness, Communications, Mobility, etc. are some of the verses that they talk about. Each can be experienced when you want them but all of them are built on top of the persistent world mesh. This is one possible way to avoid clutter in the augmented world.

Super famous science fiction writer, Neal Stephenson, spoke at LEAPcon about the Magicverse using a real-world example. He was sitting in a beautiful hotel lobby that was decorated with amazing artwork, sculpture, lighting, tapestries, probably a fish tank, etc (unfortunately no goats), but his view was upset by Exit signs and other important but not always necessary signage. In the Magicverse, the signs could be part of another verse and only seen when needed or necessary, so the “Beautyverse” (as an example) would not be disrupted.

In my world, perhaps there will be a “Marketverse” where everything you see can be bought and sold and experienced whenever you or people around you would like. So in the hotel example, you could shift from the Beautyverse to the Marketverse to purchase what you see; both physical and digital items.

It will be fascinating to see how all of this takes shape. The complexity of an open, persistent world mesh that can be utilized by developers and accessed by anyone using any device can’t be understated. There will be many pitfalls, but once it’s a reality, “real” magic will be possible.

Here’s some more information about the Magicverse concept from ARtillary.

Thanks for reading.



Mobile and Spatial Computing Product Leader. Strategic Advisor to @StupidCancer. Runs Lung Records. Founder of @12seconds. Surviving #lungcancer He/Him

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David Beach

Mobile and Spatial Computing Product Leader. Strategic Advisor to @StupidCancer. Runs Lung Records. Founder of @12seconds. Surviving #lungcancer He/Him