The future of Reality: virtual and augmented reality are the next web browsers.

Adrian Blackwood
Spatialist
Published in
3 min readAug 2, 2022

The second in a ten-part series exploring the future of reality: covering how, and why, the physical and virtual worlds will connect. Follow the series on Medium: https://medium.com/spatialist

A common language

We do a really bad job of explaining as a technology industry that building AR/VR products will require a browser, and maybe this is a language problem.

if you were at the Spatialist.Studios Bali offices, you’d be able to walk over to the wall, pick up a headset, put it on, and experience either augmented reality or full virtual reality. It’s a normal thing here, but it’s not for most people and most teams.

Right now the names we use ‘logging’ into headsets is not common or standard - So that begs the question of what you’re actually doing. Well, in my thinking, what you’re doing is the equivalent of logging on to the first internet, the desktop-bound internet of our past. It is the headset internet of our current Internet… Let me prove the point.

@joanMarcF Your 90’s family would understand. If you’re time-traveling to prove a point, a Delorean is a sensible choice.

A trip through internet history

Let's take a short trip, hop in the DeLorean, crank it up to 88 miles an hour, go back in time to the dawn of the first internet, and explain to your grandparents, both how the internet works and how they get on it.

You’d hear really common responses like :

‘so I get on the Google’??

or

“I open Internet Explorer and see pictures of my grandchildren?”

Invariably, your answers are going to be yes because they’re your grandparents. What is likely in the back of your mind and on the tip of your tongue will be a response that’s a bit different. They’ll be like

No grandma, No grandpa, the Internet browser is how you get on the internet.

And, probably at that point, using an analogy something like this. It’s like getting in your car to get on the highway except :

this is an information superhighway.

Just like a desktop computer in 1992, our current Headsets do the same — get us on the AR/VR superhighway.

Microsoft had a great series of ads that made children look like they were racing cars down this infinite information superhighway. In fact, more recently, there’s a great series of memes that depict just how funny this is to our modern eye. And yet at the time, this looks completely normal, of course.

Much is the same now for our modern equivalent of augmented reality and virtual reality. Grandpa & grandma plus most of the baby-boomer age will not ever understand, and for most of us, this is now are parents. Welcome to the future mom & dad.

Let's try a new approach:

Here’s a headset. It works very similarly to your phone. If you want to go on the Internet, it's the same as a web browser, like Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, or Mozilla. The same as the internet you know, headsets enable you to search, select & find content that you’re interested to see.

Let’s explain this to everyone, headsets are the new browsers.

If we’re all doing our job as technologists

Together we will enable all users to personalize their experience without too many clicks, or in this case, too many finger pinches.

As we replace the ‘just click it’ explanation we’ll need a vernacular shift in how we have to approach the next emerging internet. Since the first web addicted us to the technology on our desktops in our homes and in our family rooms, and the next web put that internet in our pockets and hands it has allowed the internet in any number of different social situations, physical places, and environments.

Conclusion

Let's create and agree on some new words and phrases.

We now have to name the next configuration, both the layer of the internet on top of the physical world that surrounds us, and the unbounded internet experience that lays before us countless 1000's of internet points.

Let’s explore and build this next internet together, but also for everyone.

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Adrian Blackwood
Spatialist

Adrian explores the future of reality through four exciting areas: Applied Ai, Spatial Reality, health-tech, and Ambient Intelligence.