Future Today
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Future Today

The age of Mixed Reality

Virtual Reality began more than 40 years ago but it has been in the last 5 years where it had really taken off, conquering the homes universe thanks to the Oculus Rift and it’s first campaign on Kickstarter. I recommend this overview published by The Verge, The Rise and Fall of Virtual Reality ,which also contains opinion articles and two documentaries.

At the same time, other terms began to echo: Augmented Reality and more recently, Mixed Reality. If the Virtual Reality take us to fully virtual environments, the Augmented Reality enriches our reality with virtual elements. It started with applications that overlapped geolocated information around us (was the case of Layar or games that came out later like Ingress or the famous Pokemon Go) or overlapped 3D renders or animations with a marker or a photograph (that is where Layar pivoted and you can find many examples such as the famous IKEA catalog). In these cases the main device was our smartphone or tablet, although other devices came up such as Google Tango, headset for smartphones like Samsung Gear VR or wearables such as Google Glass or Recon. A problem with this format is that everything was based on “overlapping” virtual objects with reality and not integrating them. This is where the Mixed Reality comes in.

The Mixed Reality is the next evolution, one in which the device understands the environment and plays with it. Could be in a simple way, identifying only the surfaces, or in an advanced way, identifying real elements with artificial vision. In either case the result is virtual objects integrated in our reality. Here you can find a list of examples that uses our smartphones:

Even MSQRD or Snapchat’s and Facebook’s similar functionalities, can be considered Mixed Reality. These examples are the “baby steps” of what is approaching us. If instead of the mobile device we use more powerful headsets, is when we begin to glimpse its full potential. Some of the main actors in this category are:

  • Magic Leap, the most secret and most hype company of the moment
  • Hololens, the bet of Microsoft for the holograms
  • Avegant, who went from the Glyph to light field technology

There are already research papers that assure us that will be posible to integrate virtual objects in a real environment with a level of accuracy so high that we won’t be able to distinguish them.

Obviously this is begining to cross paths with other technologies, such as mapping / projections, obtaining experiments as curious as Sixth Sense or Lumen; toys like Iron Man AR Experience or Mekamon Robots; or even “real” Virtual Reality with the famous roller coaster experience or with immersion games like in The Void or in Mindtrek. And if we consider implants (like in Black Mirror) or lenses that filter our reality, we could reach a very powerful experience or a very scary one…

What do you think of all this? Have you tried VR experiences? Do you use AR applications? Mixed Reality is the future?

#365daysof #futurism #innovation #virtual reality #mixedreality #augmentedreality #day50

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David Alayón

David Alayón

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Creative Technology Officer & Co-founder @Innuba_es @Mindset_tech · Partner @GuudTV @darwinsnoise · Professor @IEBSchool @DICeducacion · Mentor @ConectorSpain