Several technologies have converged to build the metaverse, allowing for multimodal interactions between people, digital items, and virtual spaces. We expect that a combination of augmented reality, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and 3D reconstruction will offer an immersive experience in the metaverse.
However, it is yet unknown how much some of these important technologies will contribute to the metaverse development.
Facebook’s rebranding as Meta has made the metaverse concept more popular. Neal Stephenson’s 1992 book, Snow Crash, is the starting point of the story of the metaverse. The story portrayed a virtual world incorporating technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet.
The metaverse is an amalgam of several technological entities, such as the internet, augmented reality, virtual reality, and other technologies, where people “live” within a digital realm. Metaverse enthusiasts can interact with one another, work, have fun, and keep in touch with friends through events like virtual conferences, concerts, and tours all over the globe.
The concept of “binocular vision,” which combines two images—one for each eye—to create a single 3D image, was introduced by scientist Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838, long before the metaverse was even thought of. This concept inspired the invention of the stereoscope, a device that gives the illusion of depth to an image. The same concept is now applied to modern VR headsets.
we now use “the metaverse” to refer to a fully immersive internet, where we can access and experience augmented and virtual reality and interact with virtual worlds via avatars and cutting-edge digital technologies. It has expanded dramatically since the introduction of binocular vision.
From a macro perspective, the evolution of the metaverse typically consists of three sequential phases:
This first phase is the current phase of the metaverse. Digital Twin involves the invention of a mirror world made up of large-scale, very accurate digital twins of people and objects in virtual environments to create a lifelike digital reproduction of the actual world. Reality and virtuality are two parallel spaces and virtual activities in this phase. In addition, properties like user movement and emotion are imitations of their physical counterparts.
Digital natives focus primarily on developing native content, where avatars representing digital natives can produce insights and inventions inside virtual spaces. Digital natives can only exist in virtual spaces. In this phase, the massively produced digital contents will be on par with their physical counterparts, and the digital world can change and advance the physical world’s production process. This will result in enhanced interactions between these two worlds.
In the last phase, Surreality, the metaverse matures and develops into a durable, self-sustaining virtual reality that absorbs reality into itself. There will be mutual symbiosis and seamless integration of the physical and virtual worlds where the virtual world’s scope will be larger than the real world’s. Furthermore, more lives and scenes that do not exist in reality can exist in virtual realms. This phase is the future of the metaverse.
Thanks to the metaverse, we can interact with people in real-time, even if they are in another virtual world. In a way, the metaverse isn’t only about convenience or leisure; it’s also a piece of technology that can connect two people who live apart.
Many technologies support the metaverse. We will look at the leading technologies that are the driving force behind the functioning of the metaverse.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology designed to augment reality. The many applications of AR technology enable users to engage with digital elements in a more enriched version of the current world. An AR app will provide interactive information that is visual, aural, and multi-sensory in real-world ecosystems to improve the user experience.
The most popular software and applications for augmented reality run smoothly on smartphones. They help us in a few straightforward steps to access a digitally enhanced environment. All we have to do is turn on the cameras on our smartphones, look around us through the phone’s screen, and rely on augmented reality software to ‘augment’ the experience of viewing the world around us.
“Virtual Reality” is a digital simulation of a 3D image or environment that allows for physical or pseudo-realistic interaction. It is easily accessible with a VR HMD or virtual reality head-mounted display. The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset from Meta is one of several such headsets; our review of the Quest 2 found it to be one of the most accessible introductions to VR.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Tech gurus can construct digital replicas or twins thanks to the metaverse and IoT, which offers virtual people and digital replicas with immersive experiences and uses within the metaverse. Without it, the metaverse can’t offer its users such lifelike virtual experiences.
IoT will stimulate the metaverse industry and offer simple user interfaces for virtual gaming, real estate purchases, and other activities. With IoT and other cutting-edge technologies, learners can develop novel projects for users through metaverse training programs.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Users can transfer value using cryptocurrencies while working and interacting with others in the metaverse.
Moreover, blockchain technology offers a decentralized and transparent solution for accessibility, governance, digital collectibility, interoperability, and proof of ownership.
As we can like the metaverse to the real world, virtual spaces can offer realistic spaces, and 3D reconstruction technology facilitates this. The metaverse has been merged with realistic virtual spaces made by the e-commerce and real estate industries. It offers experiences similar to what is obtainable in the real world.
Interested parties can digitally tour the property without having to interact in person. Online retailers have set up virtual marketplaces where buyers can check products before selecting.
Although the metaverse is relatively still in its infancy, several companies actively explore its possibilities. The Sandbox and Decentraland are prominent projects in the crypto ecosystem, but other major companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and NVIDIA are also exploring the space.
As AR, VR, and AI technologies develop, we might see interesting new features in these virtual, limitless worlds. Already, designers, engineers, and other creators can collaborate virtually with the help of NVIDIA Omniverse. This open platform connects 3D spaces into a single shared universe. In the same vein, we expect more offerings in the future.