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In 1969, the first moonwalk stunned the world, hinting at all the possibilities of wider space exploration. But today – 53 years later – our imaginations are less captivated by the thought of exploring Mars, and more captivated by the development of another frontier: the metavers.
The concept of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) has been around for a while, especially in the gaming world, and the creation of the metaverse has given the technology a whole new dimension. As more and more people immerse themselves in this secondary reality and buy houses, attend events and maintain relationships on a virtual plane, current technology will have to evolve to meet the demand.
That’s where embodied reality fits. Virtual and augmented reality made the metaverse happen, but the real test of this technology is how fully one can “live” in the virtual experience. The embodied reality, appealing to the senses to form a more complete experience of your surroundings and activities, will fundamentally change the way we perceive reality, and it is this final frontier that will change our world forever.
The current state of the metaverse is undoubtedly impressive. In 2020, the metaverse market was worth no less $46 billionand is expected to reach $800 billion by 2024. In addition, investments in the development of this space are coming from major tech players such as Microsoft, Epic and Meta (formerly Facebook), the latter already $10 billion towards their Reality Labs segment.
However, the truth is that existing technology has only just surfaced what is possible. There is still a long way to go before the experience can blur the line between the real and the virtual world. As it stands, most of the developers’ time and energy has been spent creating images that jump off the screen and are so lifelike that the concept of “real” is starting to lose its meaning.
But this is just the beginning. In a virtual stadium you still just watch the match, but as a participant you feel the bat crack. At Coachella you can feel the beat of the festival all around you in a way that transcends seeing and hearing. The experience can and should be visceral, not just that of a spectator. If the goal is to make it so that people struggle to tell the difference between the virtual and the real world — which is, in fact, the ultimate goal — visual effects don’t create the sense of immersion that is needed.
To achieve that, we need a new format so that people can feel and fully inhabit the experiences they see, rather than seeing them play out on a screen. The most memorable experiences in a person’s life are filled with color, yes, but more than that, they are linked to the sounds, smells, textures and feelings of these moments. It is impossible to capture that level of authenticity and reality with current methods of virtual and augmented reality, but through embodied reality we can move the metaverse light years ahead and break the boundaries of what is real and what is fabricated.
Just as people were impressed — and instantly hooked — by the experience of the first moving image, embodied reality is a new way of conveying an idea or sensation that helps people “teleport” to another place. ‘. Every day we get closer to capturing a full experience or environment – visually we are extremely close – but feeling and hearing things as if we are really there are the keys to meeting this new expectation of reality. Until all five senses are represented, the experience will not live up to this expectation, and the embodied reality is the key to bringing the virtual world to life.
The metaverse is coming and soon it will probably play a key role in our personal and professional lives. But if building a lived experience for all users is the end game, relying on legacy technology isn’t the answer. Whether the dream is to live a whole new life in the metaverse – complete with a house, friends and virtual possessions – or to take that infamous walk on the moon, reality embodied is the final frontier and the only one. way to turn those dreams into a (virtual reality.
Valtteri Salomaki is the co-founder and CEO of Edge Sound Research Inc†
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