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Buzzwords are nothing new. What is new about the past couple of years’ experience regarding buzzwords in their profusion? That is thanks to the COVID 19 pandemic which rather contrary to common-sense expectations acted as a catalyst to processes that were either yet to be hatched or were lying dormant. The world of tech has been at the forefront of such unfolding and hence words like Artificial Intelligence, Distributed Cloud, Hyper Automation, Metaverse, Everything as a service (XaaS), Quantum Computing, Cybersecurity Mesh, and many, many more have gained wide currency rather quickly. So let us begin at the beginning by understanding what it is that we talk about when we are talking about Metaverse nowadays.
The word Metaverse might be a hot topic today but it has been around for quite a significant amount of time now. In his 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash”, author Neal Stephenson coined the term first. The word referred to the author’s projection of a world that is a 3D simulation per excellence populated by lifelike virtual avatars. The world has moved on since 1992 and so the idea of Metaverse has undergone further developments as well. Tech milestones like augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, and advanced communication techniques, all forayed into the arena.
So yes, Metaverse is quite literally a digital universe that is given body by the joint efforts made by the above-noted technologies. Here users, or more precisely, their digital avatars, can live in the truest sense of the word. As of now, using an assortment of metaverse devices, users can work, play, socialize in this virtual realm. They can even visit concerts, join conferences or take virtual trips around the Metaverse using this technology. If you want to know more details about Metaverse, this article will be helpful: Everything you wanted to know about the metaverse.
To get a fairer idea, one can head straight to a number of social media platforms and game universes that are offering today entry into such hyper-real virtual spaces. Some of these platforms are:
Apart from the acquisition of Oculus, a company that manufactures Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, in 2014, the tech mammoth Facebook has made public its immense interest in virtual reality by rebranding itself as Meta this year. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, voiced his support for the Metaverse when, while declaring the rebranding, he said, “The next platform and medium will be a much more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse.” Meta has delivered on this by unveiling the Horizon Workrooms beta, a virtual meeting area designed for co-workers to hold their meetings using a metaverse device.
It is another tech giant that has advanced considerably in this direction when it revealed its very own hologram technology back in 2019. Microsoft holograms can change someone into a digital speaker of an alien language. The Microsoft Mesh platform has since then been busy developing mixed and extended reality applications. Microsoft has also made known its intention of developing Microsoft Teams along these lines in 2022. Collaboration with the U.S. army is also underway aimed at designing an augmented reality Hololens 2 hardware that will help soldiers train better. Microsoft’s Xbox Live must be accounted for here as well as it establishes connections between millions of video gamers from around the globe. The company would also start working on the development of 3D hyper-real spaces for the world of retail and general workplaces.
3. Epic Games
Epic Games is a video game company that has made headlines by virtue of its extraordinary contributions in this regard. “It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse”, said Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games. Epic Games has made it further immersive by holding music concerts by artists like Arianna Grande, Travis Scott, unveiling movie trailers and music debuts in the metaverse. A splendid remaking of Martin Luther King Jr’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech earned it further credentials. Epic Games is reportedly emphasizing its MetaHuman Creator, a technology that helps users customize better their digital avatars.
It is entering the metaverse that necessitates that one first has one’s props ready. Below are discussed metaverse devices that are crucial for such transportation.
1. Computer (PC)
Laying your hands on a perfectly functioning computer device is one of the first necessities. Intel grabbed worldwide attention a few days ago when it said that for metaverse to work properly, one will need devices with 1000x more computing power than what the technology offers today. But since metaverse is still in its embryo, the configuration we have already functioned just fine.
Smartphones are the next important metaverse device with chipmakers like Qualcomm, Samsung already sharing their dedication to the mobile metaverse segment. Smartphones with the hardware they already come with are useful though for enjoying some of the games and platforms that use augmented reality.
3.5G Mobile Networks
For metaverse to really get under one’s skin, one needs a powerful and lightning-fast network that 5G technology promises. Extensive penetration of 5G mobile networks is therefore extremely important.
4. AR Glasses
Augmented Reality (AR) glasses are metaverse devices that one simply cannot miss out on. These are smart wearables and help in embodied experiences.
5. VR Headset
Virtual Reality (VR) headsets make use of technologies such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, etc along with a stereoscopic head-mounted display that provides separate images for each eye. Among metaverse devices, these are steadily gaining popularity.
6. VR Gloves
Using VR gloves, alternatively meta-haptic gloves, one can feel Virtual Reality (VR) objects as if they were real. Sounds insane but companies like HaptX have already offered their line-ups of such hyper-real interfaces.
7. Wrist-Based Bands
Meta is a forerunner in offering this new AR device that can read motor movements and can help interact with the virtual world more effortlessly.
Growing digitization is a fact of 21st-century humanity. As long as the ethical underpinnings of such a development get predominant over the technology part, we must welcome such efforts. As some reports on the prevailing sexist atmospheres in some metaverse spaces have underlined, the realm needs regulations. The impact on the environment, data privacy are some other issues that we must come to terms with. Beyond these, the possibilities that metaverse technology has already pointed at herald a future that is every bit worth experiencing.
The concept of metaverse needs not be demonized at this early stage. In fact, the very fact that the idea is still inchoate makes us agents of deciding whether we want to create a bubble universe that keeps out the digital proletariat or a universe that can get past the constraints of time and space to give a new lease of human creativity. But whatever the path that the technology takes, it is beyond dispute that the metaverse is here to stay. And this makes it mandatory that one gets acquainted with the gears that are needed to undertake this journey. With a flurry of brands offering good products, the only thing one needs to get right is the basics of such devices.