Mixed reality - pushing out into the new world

Imagine walking through the jungle, cutting lianas with your machete and entering yourself 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 M.R made of?

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

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

The relationship with the human and the computer as 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. The more digital or virtual reality that we add to it, will change the reality turning it 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 turned into the monster. It 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 of the human when we position ourselves in a specific moment and time. And thought the use of all those different complements 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 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 feels space and interacts with other objects.

  • Physical interaction

You can interact, connect or collaborate with the environment with your senses. Not only a 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 the first named glasses, helmets, game controller devices, vibrating controllers, balancers… All those tools help us to dive in and get more natural depictions of reality.

Augmented Reality

It is enhancing your experience within the real world using digital information. What augmented reality does, is simple, it pulls the graphics out of the television 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 are 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 graphics engine and a very powerful processor that can change the image in real time while still anchor it to the physical world around you.  Overlying the digital and the real world.

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

We need 4 components to create a platform that can adopt A.R:

  • Spatial Services

It is required to understand the world around you. Doing it you give the power to the machine to understand your current situation (street, place…) and interact with it. Giving you solutions for restaurants, theatres or stores.

  • Artificial Intelligence

It is the capacity that you give to the machine to improve and give you feedback based on your previous experiences. A more detailed recognition of the surroundings.

  • User Interfaces

Meaning that you can control the cutting edge technologies in a way that is understandable and easy-to-get for everybody. Making it more natural as possible.

  • Hardware

The latest, 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 & 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. – Medium – Daniel Eckler

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