CES 2022 and the Metaverse
David Taylor, Immersive Technology Lead and Dr Dave Hutber, Head of Artificial Intelligence
Will there be one company that will take over the Metaverse?
Most of the tech giants (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Google) are saying they will all have a part to play, as they build off the back of the Internet. Facebook, by re-branding as Meta are showing their intention to be a major player in the Metaverse.
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Headsets for the Metaverse
Delivering strong visual elements of a Metaverse experience will require further maturing of headset technologies. Whilst some vendors at CES remarked on their wearable devices providing this type of support, there was little to convince of a next generational leap.
Image credit: Qualcomm
One item of note in terms of augmented reality devices came at the Qualcomm keynote when a tie up with Microsoft was announced in terms of a next-gen augmented reality (AR) chip to be developed that will integrate with Microsoft’s Mesh platform. This leads to a potential follow-up to the Hololens 2 headset that arrived in 2019. Presently, a modified version of that headset (IVAS) is used by the US Army, who may well be looking for a lighter, more performant device in the future.
The XTAL 3 virtual reality headset, was a device which did capture attention, and not because of the $10,000 price tag. It was reported to reach a 180° horizontal field of view (human capability is 210°). Whilst targeted at enterprise and defence uses, consumers, with current 90 - 110° headsets such as Oculus Quest 2, may be waiting a number of years for something equivalent.
Image credit:Upload VR
Panasonic subsidiary Shiftall announced a “ Metaverse-linked wearable heating and cooling device”. The idea is to replicate the temperature conditions of a virtual world in the real world by embedding representative data using common gaming techniques. The high-performance Peltier element can run for up to 25 hours on a single charge.
Image credit: Shiftall
Nvidia used CES2022 to publicise free access to their Omniverse platform. The intention is to give content creators free access and collaborate with businesses demanding rapid world creation, advanced avatar use such as AI lip sync, and physics based visualisation. By integrating with game engine technologies such as Unity 5, developers can generate richer content in less time.
Image credit: Nvidia
Alienware revealed a prototype “Concept Nyx” server for the home – a single processing box to manage and deliver content to multiple devices simultaneously. Whilst the concept presently manages PC games, it will not be a significant step to consider how the consumption of Metaverse experiences may well require intermediate “edge” devices to smooth the delivery of content.
In summary, what we saw at CES was vendors starting to shift their thinking towards how their offerings could adapt to Metaverse concepts. Whilst some were stretching their marketing somewhat in having any real investment in this space, others are understanding the potential opportunity. What is exciting is that real progress in Metaverse development will accelerate in the coming twelve months as vendors realise strategies – this space certainly will have a lot to offer our customers.
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