From VR to edge computing: Technologies making metaverse a reality
Metaverse offers a sea of possibilities. It influences our perception of the internet, how we use new technologies, and our social media conversations.
The metaverse in Web3 is formed by merging diverse virtual spaces and the physical world. Users can create their digital avatars and interact within the metaverse. You can hang out in a coffee shop, play games, go shopping, and do much more in the metaverse. Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are creating their own versions of the metaverse.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent work-from-home diktats have also accelerated the interest in developing metaverses. There is a demand for more interactive ways to connect with others since many are working remotely.
To offer an excellent metaverse experience, powerful cutting-edge technologies and interconnected tools are required. Let’s look at the technologies that are making metaverses a reality:
It is one of the most pivotal technologies behind the metaverse. Virtual Reality-based wearables transport people to an alternate virtual world, sitting in the convenience of their homes. Multiple platforms exist which allow VR users to connect with one another. Some of the most popular VR headsets are Playstation VR, Oculus Quest, Cosmos, and HTC.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency
Blockchain plays a pivotal role in the development of the metaverse because Web 3.0 is all about decentralization. For the sustenance of a decentralized web, metaverse projects also have to decentralized. Blockchain offers the following decentralized elements: storage, security, interoperability, smart contracts, trust, and self-identity authentication. Cryptocurrencies allow people to transfer assets in the 3D digital environment while having their own digital experiences.
Since the metaverse is a reflection of the real world, virtual spaces should also offer realistic spaces, and 3D reconstruction technology helps with that. Real estate and ecommerce industries have created realistic virtual spaces and integrated them with the metaverse. It provides experiences that are close to the ones offered in the real world.
Interested parties can take a tour of the property virtually without face-to-face interactions. Ecommerce brands have launched virtual stores where customers can make purchasing decisions by examining the products virtually.
For the metaverse to be a resounding success, faster data transmission is imperative. This is because every user should be able to interact with high-quality 3D rendering in real-time. Edge computing provides the necessary speed for the metaverse’s tech infrastructure requirement. The latest version of edge computing—distributed computing—allows users to enjoy edge computing’s benefits without requiring an elaborate hardware infrastructure.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI-powered characters in the metaverse can be programmed with their own backstory, objectives, motivations, and personality. Depending on the virtual world, pre-planned scenarios could be played out. Using AI, the characters can generate artificial intelligence and build on it. Some of AI’s use cases in the metaverse are multilingual accessibility, intuitive interfacing, accurate avatar creation, digital humans, and VR world expansion at scale. AI has the power to create exciting metaverse experiences.
If you look at it from a different perspective, metaverse itself is an infrastructure. It doesn’t operate on top of an application. It can be termed the next evolution of the internet that allows real-time interactions with each other’s digital avatars.
To provide a great metaverse experience, high bandwidth, low latency, and extremely high internet speeds are a must-have. This allows VR and AR experiences, including the ability to have deep conversations in real-time with AI characters.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Since the metaverse uses wireless on a monumental scale, smart IoT sensors play a big role in enabling the technology. IoT sensors pair devices like haptic gloves, speakers, VR headsets, voice recognition, etc. To put it in simple words, IoT takes physical devices and connects them to the internet with sensors and devices. Once the devices are connected to the internet, the sensors send or receive information automatically.
The technology also enables realistic responses to interactions in the metaverse. By leveraging IoT, you can connect the 3D world to a large number of real-life devices, thereby allowing real-time simulations in the metaverse.
Companies working on metaverse projects
Microsoft: Its focus is on metaverse for enterprises, developing a series of applications on the metaverse on top of the Microsoft Mesh platform. Microsoft is incorporating metaverse concepts into its existing applications and software products like Microsoft Teams.
Nvidia: The technology company has successfully created a metaverse platform connecting 3D worlds in a shared virtual universe. Nvidia has partnered with many entities regarding sharing metaverse content. They are actively supporting creators by giving them free access to their platform.
Meta: In the first quarter of 2022, Meta’s metaverse division lost $3 billion. They are in it for the long haul as their plans are expected to take more than 15 years. Meta has committed to employing more than 10,000 ‘Metamates’ (moniker for Meta’s employees) to build its virtual reality.
Google: The technology giant’s Google Glass, a wearable AR technology device, was its first foray into the metaverse. Even though it was a failure during its launch, it is time they revisit the concept. Google has invested $39.5 million into metaverse-related projects.
Unity Software: There is no organisation better slated for the metaverse boom than Unity. Roughly five billion of the world’s devices have Unity-designed software installed. They power 71% of the top 1,000 mobile games and 50% of all PC and console games. By building connections between all the devices, games, and applications and making them interoperable, it is a metaverse itself.
Tinder: Even one of the most popular dating apps in the world is working on metaverse-related projects. In a letter to shareholders, CEO Renate Nyborg said,
”An interface which allows users to connect with others through new experiences beyond the Swipe that used to be Tinder.”
It is also rolling out Tinder coins in several markets. In a few South Korean campuses, they are working on a concept to allow users to meet in Singletown (a virtual place), and interact as digital avatars using real-time audio.
Challenges of the metaverse
One of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of the metaverse is the cost of the equipment and infrastructure involved. Diversion of user attention amid location-based AR applications has resulted in several accidents.
According to news reports, driving while playing Pokemon Go, an AR-powered game, has cost billions in car damage and injuries. The weight of VR headsets doesn’t allow for longer sessions. Motion sickness, nausea, and dizziness are medical issues related to the overuse of virtual reality. Users need to understand the risks of participating in immersive environments.
It can be difficult to identify people in the metaverse, and can only be done by verifying unique attributes like facial expressions, features, and the avatar’s voice. In the metaverse, it can be easy to slander someone’s reputation by pretending to be the avatar of someone else. Since the metaverse does not exist in a real location and is beyond borders, government authorities across the world have to figure out how to create a safe space for users.
As much as we are looking forward to the metaverse universe, we must build one that is safe and secure for everyone involved.
Edited by Kanishk Singh