Looking to the future of mixed reality

Transition phase. We can all agree that in the near future physical screens will begin to disappear and be replaced with displays that blend into the environment (some descriptions here, here and here). Whether it happens in 5 years as we predict, or in 10 years as Mark Zuckerberg thinks, the next vector driving the digital world will be augmented reality glasses. With that being said, we recognize that there will be a transition period both technologically and socially, and for social reasons we need to design this next phase so that users and non-users can coexist.

The social awkwardness of wearing MR glasses will most likely force the initial uses to be in the home, the workplace or a location where all users are required to wear the glasses (such as theme parks, museums, stadiums, planes…etc.). The form factor will be a key tool to mitigate the awkwardness and drive the speed of adoption since the glasses will need to be as stylish and thin as possible in order for users to accept them into their daily routine. In the short term, we hypothesize that the first models will complement smartphones, mostly in order to decentralize the computational burden, improve autonomy, and to minimize the impact of change on the user. As an example, a smartphone can act as a trackpad for glasses in a workplace situation, and then revert back to a smartphone when no longer needed or when the batteries in the glasses die.

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