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Mixed Reality: Pushing Out Into the New World

DZone's Guide to

Mixed Reality: Pushing Out Into the New World

Let's talk about mixed reality and how other IT breakthroughs like AR, VR, and AI are impacting the development of immersive worlds for users.

· IoT Zone ·
Free Resource

Imagine walking through the jungle, cutting lianas with your machete and entering into dark caves filled with strange creatures and animals… while being at home. Stop imagining it! And welcome to the new world, to the mixed reality world.

The evolution and improvement of sensors and processing, mixed with advanced computer vision, graphical power, display technology, and input systems are allowing us to discover and feel with our eyes situations and environments that we never thought could happen.

This technology allows us to set feed on the edge of a cliff without the danger of falling, or play around with a flying cubic and even take the infinite starts to nowhere.

Mixed reality breaks down the limits of the physical world with the digital world. It is an evolution in human, computer and environment interaction. 

— Developer.Microsoft.com
 

The term was first used by Paul Milgram and Funio Kishono in 1994 for the categorization of the different displays applications.

What Is MR Made Of? 

The reality as a whole that we see right now is a mix of the interaction of three different realities: human, computer (digital), and environment.

One reality is the conventional one, what we see with our eyes and the position that the people have in the world: surface, light, sound, object recognition, etc.

The relationship with the human and the computer has been studied over several decades, this discipline is known as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). 

The interaction between computers and environments is effectively environmental understanding, or perception.

— Microsoft


Source: Mixed reality-Microsoft

Without the environment, we can't blend physical and digital world, creating the dynamic interaction with the entire spectrum of situations between the real world and digital or virtual reality.

Mixed reality-Microsoft

The entire spectrum can be represented with this graphic. Starting from the top left, we have the physical reality, our perception of the real world. But when we add digital or virtual reality to it, that changes the reality into Augmented Reality (digital content on the real world) or Virtual Reality (when a person or human input is surrounded by the digital world). 

Virtual Reality

VR is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real-life environment or situation. It embraces the consumer and makes them believe they are immersed in another completely different one.

It tricks your brain with the use of a stereoscopic display, advanced 3D visual interfaces, and very different complements to make you forget that you are navigating through a virtual world; fully integrated with it. 

Virtual reality gave the feeling of presence to the application.

Presence is a psychological state or subjective perception in which even though part of all of an individual’s current experience is generated by and or filtered through human-made technology , part of all of the individual’s perception fails to accurately acknowledge the role of the technology in the experience.

 International Society for Presence Research, 2000
 

The concept defines the feeling when we position ourselves in a specific moment and time. And through the use of all those different components of the application, we feel fully integrated with the digital world that surrounds us.  

There are 4 characteristics that determine the meaning of presence: 

  • Stable in a spatial place: When users perceive the displayed objects or digital items as they do in the real world.
  • Self-embodiment: The awareness that we have of our body in the world. It determines space and interaction with other objects.
  • Physical interaction: You can interact, connect or collaborate with the environment with your senses. Not only vision, but hearing, touching, smelling, or tasting.
  • Social communication: With other digital users but the users have to be able to transmit to each other or computer items through body language.

Some of the accessories that allow us to interact and with the digital world are glasses, helmets, game controller devices, vibrating controllers, balancers, etc. All those tools help us to dive in and get more natural depictions of reality.

Augmented Reality

AR enhances your experience within the real world using digital information. What augmented reality does is simple — it pulls the graphics out of the television and into the real world. Imagine walking around the city and being hungry, what an ugly feeling to have, right? Well, with augmented reality and the proper app installed on your phone, you could be able to move around and search for the specific restaurant you are looking for. The camera phone recognizes the restaurants and points out an interactive icon into your screen.

It uses a graphics engine and a very powerful processor that can change the image in real time while still anchoring it to the physical world around you. It's about overlaying the digital and the real world.

The applications of augmented reality are infinite: video games, entertainment, communication, education… or the most exciting one for me, exploration and tourism.

We need four components to create a platform that can adopt AR.

  • Spatial services: Spatial services are required to understand the world around you. Incorporating those, you give the power to the machine to understand your current situation (street, place, etc.) and interact with it, giving you solutions for restaurants, theatres, or stores. 
  • Artificial intelligence: With AI, you give the machine the ability to improve and give you feedback based on your previous experiences. It also provides more detailed recognition of the surroundings.
  • User interfaces: Through good UI design, you can control cutting-edge technologies in a way that is understandable and easy-to-get for everybody with the goal of making it as natural as possible. 
  • Hardware: The last component, we have to put all that technology together and assemble an item that can translate all that software into a tool that triggers it.

Some current hardware accessories for A.R are glasses, cameras, or smartphones. 

The key takeaway for understanding the shift towards VR and AR is their collective push towards enabling people to engage more naturally with computers — by simply looking, gesturing, conversing, and being — as opposed to dealing with interfering and unnatural interfaces like mice, keyboards, and flat screens.

— Daniel Eckler
 
Topics:
mixed reality ,virtual reality ,augmented reality ,iot

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