The Digital NavigatorEG
The metaverse is a vision of what many in the media and computer industries believe is the creative next step in virtual reality design; specifically, a shared, immersive 3D space where users can engage
in simulated experiences, involving gaming, spaceflight, education, combat, fictional storytelling and so forth. The metaverse virtual world is facilitated by the use of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.
Science fiction often provides a useful lens by which to judge the future direction of a promising technology. Film producer/director Steven Spielberg once said that science fiction often provides
a “kind of first level alert to think about things to come.” One such example can be seen in the holodeck found in the television/film series Star Trek developed by writer/producer Gene Roddenberry.
The 24th century holodeck can be found aboard all Galaxy-class starships where it provides a space that allows crew members can
run training exercises, engage fictional characters inside recreational novels, relax on paradise islands and hang out with AI-powered approximations of their favorite historical figures. The holodeck manipulates 3D depth perception and spatial awareness to give the user a sense of being in a sprawling, fully-explorable environment without running into the holodeck’s solid and immovable walls.
There are three important technologies helping to advance a Metaverse future; specifically artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Virtual reality involves creating a three dimensional space for the user to occupy. A VR game requires a headset and allows the player to step into a 3D environment and engage with his/her surroundings.
The VR environment simulates and reacts to the player’s sense of vision, touch, smell and hearing. As an example, a VR game of golf allows the player to swing at a virtual ball while playing different holes of a 3D golf course. The virtual golf course can be made to look like actual golf courses found around the world.
Augmented reality (AR) means superimposing an enhanced digital image (or information) on an everyday visual display. A simple example can be found when a shopper applies/uses a virtual furniture app at IKEA or Wayfair to see what a new couch might look like in the user’s living room. Similarly, a shopper can apply a Sherwin-Williams virtual painting app. to see how different color selection would appear in a living room or bedroom setting.
The Role of Video Game Technology
Many of today’s more advanced videogame technologies, including Fortnite, Call of Duty and Mortal Combat recreates/simulates virtual encounters, survival and combat. Similarly, the game SimCity allows the player to create an artificial city including the parts and pieces that make up a city such as roads, townhall, schools power station and so forth. The game overlays the city map based on user inputs and simulates (hence the word sim) what such communities might look like. VR gaming is going to provide a starting point to a futuristic holodeck concept, it will require an appreciation for learning how to create fully-immersive experiences for gamers and regular users alike. It is very likely that videogame designers will pave the way in helping to advance this type of knowledge.
Suggested Video Presentations
Connect 2021- How We Will Build the Metaverse
Health and Fitness Simulation
Remote Work Simulation
CNET - Explaining the Metaverse
Technology Magazines and Websites
MIT Technology Review