With the extended reality (XR) revolution well beginning, it’s easy to imagine a future where the boundaries between the actual and virtual worlds are even more blurred than they are now. In this post, I examine the technological advancements in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) on the horizon and what these advancements might mean for everyday life in the future.
Rapid XR progress is on the horizon.
We’ll probably be able to experience XR in ways we can’t yet envision in the future. But, for the time being, there are plenty of impending technological advancements to look forward to. VR technology will be quicker, lighter, and more inexpensive. Furthermore, advances in smartphone technology (such as better cameras and processors) will allow us to enjoy smoother AR and VR experiences on our devices. We’ll be able to enjoy them anywhere we are in the world thanks to 5G wireless networks.
Here are a few critical XR technological advancements that are just around the corner:
LiDAR will allow us to create more realistic AR creations on our phones.
(Light Detection and Ranging) is a technique for creating a 3D map of the environment, significantly improving a device’s AR capabilities. It can give AR projects a sense of depth, rather than making them look like a flat graphic. It also supports occlusion, which is when an actual physical object in front of the AR object blocks the view of the AR object – for example, people’s legs covering the idea of a Pokémon GO figure on the street. This is necessary for AR projects to appear more grounded in reality and to avoid clumsy AR experiences.
VR headset LiDAR technology is now available on the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro, and it’s realistic to think that additional devices will follow suit in the near future.ts will become smaller, lighter, and more feature-rich.
Two significant examples of built-in technology that will increasingly be implemented into VR headsets are hand detection and eye-tracking. Users may be more expressive in VR and engage with their game or VR experience on a deeper level because hand detection allows VR users to control movements without bulky controls. Eye-tracking technology allows the system to focus the best resolution and image quality on the image sections that the user is looking at (exactly how the human eye does). This puts less strain on the system, reduces latency, and lowers the chance of sickness.
We’ll have new XR accessories to enhance the experience even more. Robotic boots are one of my favorite examples.
Ekta VR, a startup, has developed wearable robotic boots that simulate walking to match your movement in the virtual reality headset, even if you’re standing motionless. The Ekta One mechanical boots resemble futuristic roller skates, but instead of wheels, they feature revolving discs on the bottom that move in sync with the wearer’s movements. Accessories like this could become a standard element of the VR experience in the future.
There will even be full-body haptic suits available.
We already have haptic gloves, which use vibrations to imitate the sensation of touch. What about full-body suits, though? Full-body cases are already on the market — the TESLASUIT is one example – but they aren’t exactly cheap for everyday VR users. They will most likely become more affordable, widespread, and effective over time, allowing VR to take another step ahead.
XR technologies may begin to blend more seamlessly with the human body as they move beyond these external accessories and devices. AR contact lenses are one method. While it is true that AR glasses will improve in quality, cost, and comfort, they may become obsolete in the future when AR lenses take over. AR contact lenses with micro-LED displays that place information inside the wearer’s eyes are already in development; in 2020, California-based startup Mojo Vision announced it was creating AR contact lenses with micro-LED displays that place information inside the wearer’s eyes.
Consider the possibilities for AR lenses. When the prototype was shown to journalists, the lenses displayed pre-loaded information such as text messages and the weather forecast, hinting that AR lenses could help us consume material in new ways. For the time being, Mojo’s top priority is to assist folks with eyesight problems (by providing better contrast or the ability to zoom in on objects). However, the lenses are expected to be made available to the general public in the future. They might be used to project information such as health tracking statistics and other relevant data. It might also be used as a teleprompter for speaking engagements or to improve our vision in low-light settings (even if our vision is otherwise unaffected).
AR lenses may one day be used to supplement the environment around us, allowing us to view whatever we desire. Let’s say you despise the flashy paint job your neighbors have done on their houses outside. Your lenses may modify it for you in the future, and you will see whatever color house you pick. Imagine you witnessed a stunning structure and want to discover who created it and when it was constructed. The information could be overlayed straight in front of your eyes, thanks to your lenses. All of this would further blur the line between the physical and virtual worlds.
Keeping the benefits of XR in mind
It’s easy to cast all of this in a dystopian light as if it’s a slippery slope that starts with Pokémon GO and ends with humans forever connected to a virtual world. However, I am pretty optimistic about the future of XR. XR is about transforming data into experiences, which can enrich and enrich many parts of our life.
Yes, there are stumbling blocks to avoid (individual privacy, ethics, and so on). However, the advantages of XR greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Indeed, for businesses, XR has a lot of potentials to help them succeed, whether by engaging with customers more deeply, creating immersive training solutions, streamlining business processes like manufacturing and maintenance, or simply offering customers innovative solutions to their problems.