There has been a lot of hype invested the idea of “the metaverse.” Some of this in genuine excitement about the future of human experience, creativity, and community. And some, of course, is excitement about the potential to make billions in advertising. Facebook rebranded as Meta after Apple’s move to limit ad tracking hit the company's bottom line. Meta’s vision of a future in which everyone has a digital wardrobe to swipe through is directly linked to the fact that Meta wants to make money selling virtual clothes.    

Regardless of whether you are an enthusiast or a businessperson, your experience in the metaverse will rely heavily on the user interface. In this article, we look at the technologies we use to interact in the metaverse - virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). These technologies interact with the blockchain to enable the creation of virtual spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world. 

Extended Reality (comprising VR, AR, and MR) is a key enabler of the metaverse ecosystem so it is critical to understand where each may or may not be used based on the desired user experience.  

We will cover: 

  1. Introduction to XR Technologies  
  2. XR Parameter Considerations 
  3. XR Device Considerations 

 

Introduction to XR Technologies 

 

IoT ONE VR, AR, XR

 

Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive and interactive simulated environment. It is experienced in the first person and provides a strong sense of presence to the user. 

Augmented reality (AR) is immersive and interactive virtual content that is spatially registered to the real world and experienced in the first person. It provides a strong sense of presence within a combined real andvirtual environment.

Mixed reality (MR) allows not only the superposition of digital elements into the real-world environment but also their interaction. In the MR experience, the user can see and interact with both the digital elements and the physical ones. Therefore, MR experiences get input from the environment and will change according to it. 

 

IoT ONE AR, MR, MR

 

XR Archetypes 

Businesses are adopting XR technologies for a range of use cases, from internal operations support to deeper customer engagement. For example, online shoppers can see how a couch actually fits into their living roombefore they buy. This reduces returns and given online retail an advantage over the brick-and-mortar experience.

Manufacturers are also starting to ramp up XR adoption. For example, AR overlays can show virtual blueprints during factory construction to reduce costly mistakes. Maintenance crews can also view data from operations during plant walkthroughs to identify machines that need servicing. For training, AR is being used to provide step-by-step virtual instructions for complex assembly tasks, while VR environments allow employees to practice using costly equipment or respond to dangerous events without the cost or expense of emulating the real case.

In this section we explore the features that differentiate VR, AR, and MR

 

Features

Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented Reality (AR)

Mixed Reality (MR)

Display Device

Special headset or smart glasses (e.g., Vive, Oculus Rift)

Headsets or mobile phones, or tablets (e.g., Google Glass)

Headsets or mobile device (e.g., Hololens)

Image Source

Computer graphics or real images produced by a computer

Combination of computer-generated images and real-life objects

Combination of computer-generated images and real-life objects

Environment

Fully digital

Virtual objects placed on top of real objects  

Virtual and real objects seamlessly blended 

Presence

Feeling of being transported somewhere else with no sense of the real world

Feeling of being in the real world, with new elements and objects superimposed to provide information

Feeling of being in the real world, with new elements and objects interacting with real world objects 
Awareness

Rendered virtual objects designed to be indistinguishable from real objects

Virtual objects identified based on their nature and behavior, such as floating text

Rendered virtual objects designed to be indistinguishable from real objects

Interaction

Joysticks and controller

Controllers or gestures

Finger touch and tap interaction

Perspective

Virtual objects change position and size according to user’s perspective in virtual world

Virtual objects behave based on user’s perspective in the real world

Virtual objects behave based on user’s perspective in the real world

Consumer Adoption

Low due to high cost and complex hardware requirements

Higher due to low cost and ease of downloading apps on mobile devices

Higher due to low cost and ease of downloading apps on mobile devices

Physical Safety 

Max risk, the real world is not visible so a controlled environment is needed

Minimal risk (see-through visor/screen) 

Minimal risk (see-through visor/screen) 

 

XR Parameter Considerations

What are you trying to accomplish with your XR solution? Every use case requires meeting the requirements of a set of parameters. We catalogued the most important parameters, the alternative options that you can select for each one, and the attributes that you might use to evaluate options. 

 

IoT ONE VR glasses

 

Parameters

AlternativesAttributes 
Display - What display technologies to choose?
  • HUD/2D
  • 360 on the phone/VR
  • 3D
  • World space (Where to place content?)
  • Objects fixed to the camera or following user (e.g., main menu on HoloLens or Oculus headset)
  • Permanent
  • Appearing
  • User familiarity
  • User comfort
  • User mobility
  • User instrumentation
  • Display size
  • Display resolution
  • Display FPS
  • Device requirements – rendering  
  • Hygiene – dedicated user device?

Tracking - What tracking and sensing technologies to use?

  • 3 DOF
  • 6 DOF
  • Inside-out
  • Outside-in
  • Marker-based
  • Marker-less
  • Face-based
  • Body-based
  • User instrumentation
  • Environment instrumentation
  • Environment constraints
  • Device requirements
  • Device adoption
  • Device cost

Navigation - How to navigate through content?

  • Walking / Movement
  • Redirected walking
  • Teleportation
  • Menus
  • Speech
  • Hand-tracking / gesture control
  • User abilities
  • User instrumentation
  • Environment instrumentation
  • Environment constraints
  • Device requirements
Manipulation - How to manipulate things - directly / indirectly?
  • Controllers
  • Hands
  • Voice
  • Eye gaze
  • Marker
  • Physical object
  • User abilities
  • Device requirements
  • Environment constraints
  • Sensing requirements
Collaboration - How to collaborate, based on location and number of users?
  • Co-located
  • Remote
  • Synchronous
  • Asynchronous
  • User location
  • Device support
  • Environment constraints
  • Networking requirements
  • Storage requirements
Security - How to maintain security and privacy of users and user data?
  • Physical security
  • Physical safety
  • Data security
  • Identity and access management
  • Privacy
  • Location - on-premises or remote
  • Data collected
  • Location of data storage
  • Parties with access to data stored
  • Personal information (including biometric data) collected
Platforms - Which platform meets requirements?
  • Altoura
  • Microsoft HoloLens
  • Vuforia Chalk
  • IrisVR
  • AR Foundation
  • Oculus for business
  • Viveport
  • SteamVR
  • Virtu
  • Hardware support  
  • Technology to be adopted (VR, AR, MR)
  • Number of collaborators
  • Collaboration Type (e.g., 3D models, training, entertainment)
  • Support (Android, iOS, Mac OS, PC/Windows)
  • Features (e.g., presentations, 2D video, whiteboard, 360 video, spatial audio, hand tracking)
Headset - Which provides the wanted immersion, comfort, and content?
  • How compelling is the feeling of presence in a virtual environment?
  • Is the hardware comfortable enough to wear for the entire activity duration?
  • Is the hardware compatible with one or more platforms, and/or compatible with proprietary platforms.
  • Resolution
  • Positional tracking and room scale
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Field of view
  • Controllers
  • Sound
  • Weight and fit
  • Cushion materials
  • Ventilation and cooling
  • Motion sickness linked to low refresh rates
  • Content exclusivity
  • Update frequency
  • Open development vs closed development

 

XR Device Considerations

There are a lot of XR devices on the market. How do you choose the best option for your situation? We summarized the most common device types and their characteristics below as a reference sheet. The examples include the best selling devices on the market. There are also specialized devices for industrial applications that are worth considering. IoT ONE virtual glasses types

 

 

Device Type

Characteristic

Quality of Experience

Examples

Tethered VR Headsets

  • Headset connected to a computer by cables, such as HDMI
  • Most expensive proposition
  • Lack of mobility / flexibility

Highest quality of immersive experience due to low latency but limited freedom of movement

HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, Samsung Odyssey, Acer AH101, HTC Vice Pro, Dell Visor, HP1000-100, Lenovo Explorer, Asus HC102

Standalone VR Headsets

  • All in one head-mounted display (HMD)
  • Plug-and-play 
  • Built-in processors, sensors, battery, storage memory, and displays
  • Wireless – does not require a connection to a PC or a smartphone

Lower quality of immersive experience than tethered VR headsets but allows the user high mobility

Oculus Quest, Oculus Go, Lenovo Mirage Solo, Pico Interactive Goblin, HTC Vice Focus, Xiaomi Mi VR 

Smartphone VR Headsets

  • Users slide their smartphones into the headset
  • Screen fits in front of the user’s eyes, with a set of lenses that create a sense of depth  
  • Low cost since only the headset ‘shell’ must be purchased

Lowest immersion but easiest and cheapest to use

Shinecon VR 9.0, VeeR Mini, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View, Merge VR, Bnext VR Pro, Google Cardboard, Mattel View-Master

Heads up displays (HUDs) for AR/MR

  • Three main components: a projector unit, a viewing glass, and a computer  
  • Help increase situational awareness

Most immersive experience

Microsoft HoloLens 2, Meta 2, Magic Leap 2

Smart glasses for AR/MR

  • Optical see through: User views reality through optical elements such as holographic wave guides that overlay on the real world
  • Video see through: User views reality that is first captured by cameras mounted on the display and then combined with virtual imagery for the user to see

Inferior in immersion to HUDs but superior to smartphone devices 

Optical see through: Microsoft HoloLens 1, Magic Leap 1, Google Glass

Video see through: Iristick, HTC Vive

Smartphone based for AR/MR

  • Type of video see through
  • Only a smartphone is needed

Lowest immersion but easiest and cheapest to use

Smartphone based (no headset required)

 

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