Why Extended Reality Is The Future Of AR VR and MR
Posted By : Abhinav Srivastava | 28-Jan-2021
The future of reality technology is bright.
Curiosity lies deep inside human beings. We are hard-wired to find patterns to make predictions. Think about the past and how the developments have an impact on our future. Being curious is the reason we are continuously evolving. At present, the driving force that is shaping every aspect of our future is technology. Ever since the first industrial revolution in 1760, technology has transformed our lives more than ever before. Now, we are looking at the fourth industrial revolution that is blazing the trail in human lives. Being a SaaS development company, we are in the mix of revolutionary developments. Let us explore one such transformative technology, the extended reality (XR).
What Is Extended Reality?
Perhaps the closest we can get to the kind of future we experience in science fiction movies is through extended reality or XR. We all have heard about virtual reality and augmented reality. Tech-savvy individuals are already experiencing these cutting edge technologies through modern hardware and software. What we are less aware of is the other two reality technologies, mixed and extended reality. We can understand mixed reality (MR) as a hybrid of real and virtual worlds. It brings the elements of real and digital worlds together and takes us to a new environment.
Extended reality encompasses a conglomeration of AR, VR, and MR. To understand it completely, we must explore its constituents first.
Let’s begin with virtual reality (VR). It means using computer technology to create simulated experiences that may or may not be similar to the real world. VR headsets or multi-projected environments generate realistic visuals and sound to let us experience the world of VR. One of the early introductions of VR dates back to the 1950s when Morton Heilig, a renowned cinematographer, built Sensorama. He envisioned a multi-sensory theater and scripted his vision in a 1955 paper entitled “The Cinema Of The Future.” It was in 1962 when Heilig built a prototype named Sensorama. It was an immersive, multi-sensory, multimodal theater to display five short films. Fast forward to this day, VR headsets are not just limited to gaming. We have VR applications in healthcare, tourism & travel, education, among others.
Next up, we have augmented reality. Unlike virtual reality, AR superimposes digital elements in our real world and enhances our experience. It uses computer-generated perceptual information across multiple, not necessarily, all sensory modulates. AR encompasses three basic features, the amalgamation of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and a 3D registration of real and virtual objects with high accuracy. Google and Apple are enabling augmented reality through ARCore and ARKit in smartphones. We have several applications that let us explore AR from a close range.
Also Read: 5 AR Apps You Should Try
Lastly, we have MR, which merges our real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations. In mixed reality, digital and physical elements coexist and interact with each other in real-time. MR does not explicitly take place in the real or virtual worlds. MR comes into the picture as a hybrid of both. To some extent, MR may feel similar to AR, but unlike AR, it overlays virtual graphics to interact with the real world. In Feb 2019, Microsoft launched Hololens, smart glasses to experience MR. The Hololens is currently available only for developers due to its exorbitant price.
Need For XR
As we know, the three reality technologies combine to give birth to XR. However, currently, there are separate devices or methods to experience different realms, such as a VR headset, an AR compatible device, or MR glasses. Hence, it is necessary to develop an XR device that encompasses all three realities. The market will eventually produce one affordable device meant for consumers.
In May 2020, Qualcomm, the company behind the development of processors for Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets, announced a collaboration with 15 Global Operators to deliver XR Viewers. The roadmap is to combine XR with 5G to enable consumers to experience reality technologies. The operators will make XR a part of their 5G offerings for consumers and enterprises. Talking about XR viewers, they are lightweight, head-worn glasses that connect to a smartphone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or 865 SoC. Users can tether XR experiences to their 5G-enabled smartphones using a USB-C cable and unlock a new generation of immersive experiences. Since 5G provides high bandwidth and low latency, XR experiences can be truly exceptional.
Qualcomm explains how XR and 5G can enable consumers to use their favorite mobile applications in augmented reality. Also, the work meetings can have holographic telepresence and virtual collaboration platforms as future. XR and 5G can transform how the world connects, communicates, and consumes content.
Qualcomm and Nvidia are two leading tech companies exploring the possibilities of XR. Qualcomm has an XR Optimized certification to protect the XR devices market and ensure the optimization of hardware & software. The CloudXR platform by Nvidia lets users stream VR, AR, and MR content from any open VR/XR application. NREAL Light is the first light-weight, mixed reality glasses that look like normal glasses. However, they offer the capability to blend into both real and mixed reality world. Its 52-degree field of view allows you to immerse yourself in the environment. Also, they come with a computing pack and a controller but can be tethered to a smartphone. The development of such XR devices certainly makes extended reality a hot pick to influence and revolutionize human lives.
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