The metaverse owes its widespread adoption to multiple layers and each of them have their own unique contribution to make to it. Power packed with 7 unique layers, metaverse can be best described as what many expect to be the next significant paradigm for how we use digital technologies and networks to interact, engage and collaborate with each other and have virtual experiences of all kinds. Check out what each layer has to offer and how all of them make metaverse a force to reckon with.
Layer 1: Experience
Layer 2: Discovery
Layer 3: Creator Economy
Layer 4: Spatial Computing
Layer 5: Decentralization
Now that we all are somewhat aware of what the Metaverse is and the opportunities it offers, we’re probably wondering: “What are the devices that allow us to enter the virtual world?”
Well, the answer lies in Layer 6 of the metaverse, known as the ‘Human Interface’ – the key aspect of the hardware layer of the metaverse. It consists of the technologies that allow users to explore the Metaverse through sophisticated human-computer interaction (HCI). It essentially comprises VR headsets, smart glasses, and haptic technologies where users can navigate digital worlds. It could also let users acquire information about their environment using technologies such as Google Glass or Meta Platform’s Project Aria.
The duo of spatial computing and human interface will soon allow us to gather information about our surroundings, use maps and even create shared AR experiences by just looking around at the physical world. They will gradually reject the rigid boundaries between ‘human’ and ‘machine’.
As the technologies get smarter, smaller and highly portable, they will get closer to our bodies; turning us into cyborgs. And, we are already becoming one through smartwatches and smart glasses. In addition, several experiments on biosensors and neural interfaces between brains and computers are already going on. So, haptics form quite a big part of this layer as well.
With this technology, it is possible to transmit information through touch, even when there are no objects. By using haptics, we can control our electronic devices mid air, without having to touch buttons or a screen. Some experimental models also include a feature where the user can feel the texture and shape of a virtual object.
According to reports by Statista, the human interface market worldwide was valued at 3.71 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and it is expected to grow to 7.24 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3 percent.
How Metaverse & Human Interface Are Related?
Now that we know that the human interface layer includes all the technological solutions that allow us to access the virtual world from anywhere. Let us dig a little deep into what all forms a part of it.
Just like any other show, the Metaverse also needs its “props” – indispensable devices allowing users to enter the virtual world. Before understanding them together, it is important to make a distinction between AR and VR that will allow us to shed light on this topic and to categorise the devices.
- Augmented Reality
What best defines Augmented Reality (AR) is the fact that it adds virtual elements to the real world. In this, users can directly engage in live interactive experiences through devices like smartphones, PCs, tablets or smart glasses/HDMs (Head-Mounted Displays).
The latter are designed as small displays integrated within a pair of eyeglasses or a helmet. What distinguishes them is the fact that they superimpose virtual elements to the real vision of the user.
- Virtual Reality
VR is a world of its own, digital, born from the combination of software and hardware devices in which user experiences are no longer interactive only, but they also become immersive. It is very much dependent on immersive headsets and other devices such as sensors, haptic devices, gloves, and earphones to provide a true multisensory experience.
Now that we have skimmed through AR and VR, it is also imperative to discover the differences between the two and how they have their own unique role to play in the metaverse.
One thing is certain: AR and VR are no longer just about technology. They are defining how we want to live in the real world with ]new technologies and how we will design experiences that are meaningful and can enrich humanity. Both of them have diverse potential to play a strong force in numerous industries such as entertainment, gaming, real estate, healthcare etc.
Devices that drive the human interface in the metaverse
Among the devices used to enter the Metaverse, VR headsets are certainly the most important ones. They typically consist of a helmet, accompanied by two controllers. Although the controllers are not always necessary, they allow you to directly interact with everything that will be displayed. The headsets consist of two small displays and are generally of two types: the first type needs to be connected to a PC, while the others are instead independent.
The sensors inside of such a headset play a fundamental role by monitoring the user’s movements (head tracking) to map their real location in the virtual space. Furthermore, they also monitor the eye movement (eye tracking), which allows other users to perceive the user’s expression. Finally, each headset integrates an audio system that amplifies the effect of immersivity/ involvement.
Research Scientist, Cuong Nguyen says, “I am interested in wearable consumer head mounted displays as the driving force behind the metaverse. I think these devices will be capable of replacing smartphones as the next mobile computing platform.”
To experience the metaverse even more immersively, other devices like gloves and other garments which are quite aesthetically similar to traditional ones, can also be used. Wondering why? It is because they are equipped with the technology necessary to provide the same haptic feeling that you would perceive when touching real objects.
Other than the devices currently in use, several new tools are being tested to access the Metaverse. These are innovative solutions, designed to make such access easier and more immediate. For example: AR contact lenses that allow the user to view the virtual world without having to wear bulky glasses, goggles or earphones. This is yet to be tested and approved, but could be a breakthrough in this area in the short term.
Where is the human interface till date?
The potential of unlimited reality within virtual immersive worlds is so intense that the form and amount of content are going to be heavier. Therefore, edge computing, faster connectivity from technologies like 5G and Wi-Fi, and faster processors must be invested in to ensure metaverses’ seamless access, interaction, and development
Acknowledging and embracing persistent worlds means the technological paradigm is going to be huge and different. To keep up, we have to maintain a living world and do simultaneous adjustments along the way. The wide spread metaverse journey is like a game where you can pause, make changes, or restart. A persistent world is always on. This makes a lot of room for innovation in terms of handling interactivity and scripting in an environment with millions of active users.
What we have today is not enough to facilitate adoption and needs to be improved, both in terms of architecture and technology innovation. With high-speed 5G becoming mainstream and the availability of gigabit optical broadband networks, terminals such as VR glasses and motion sensing devices can connect to various servers to create a deeply immersive and realistic society. By following the approach of a new generation of mobile internet, various remote education, remote shopping, cloud games, immersive tourism, and other application scenarios will become prominent applications.
Operators have already begun investigating these applications, giving the metaverse the perfect setting to hasten the development of 5G apps. Operators who own 5G, gigabit optical broadband, big data, cloud, and edge computing, among other capabilities, will have an advantage over other digital businesses in the metaverse.
A significant contribution to the booming digital economy will be made by creating a “connection + processing power + capability” network that is appropriate for the metaverse. According to many experts, transparency and more cooperation between digital behemoths like Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Apple are necessary for the metaverse to develop and take on significant significance. Deep integration and functionality will be improved as a result.
Will evolution of human interface redefine the metaverse?
The precise influence of the metaverse on future broadband speed and bandwidth needs is still unknown. The majority of observers concur that this hybrid world will only operate to its full potential if latency is virtually nonexistent. To fulfil the capacity, speed, and latency requirements of future consumers, this would need adding more and larger pipes.
As this movement leads the path to unlocking the future of the digital universe, more players keep placing large bets on it. To live up to the expectations, it will reportedly take years, if not decades, of R&D, invention, and standardisation. Regarding the ICT sector, huge corporate monetization prospects are brought about by the need for ultra-fast and high bandwidth connectivity as well as the creation of sophisticated apps and device toolkits.
When it comes to tracing the evolution of humans to several interfaces, check out this white paper by DigitalReality.
Digital business strategies that make use of the built-in infrastructure of the metaverse must be constructed for the new human interface to be successful. Also necessary are the proper identification and mitigation of the specific technological risks, privacy concerns, and security issues that arise in this novel persistent and decentralised environment.
In a word, although the metaverse concept is now receiving a lot of attention, it is still in its very early stages. The digital underpinnings we establish now, which include seamless connectivity and high degrees of interoperability across devices, cloud platforms, and networks, will determine how this turns out. The demand for ultra-resilient networks with low latency and high bandwidth is expected to grow, bringing together CSPs, cloud providers, content creators, hardware manufacturers, regulators, etc.
Numerous businesses are making investments in the Human Interface industry since AR/VR hardware devices are continually changing and will experience an exponential market growth in the near future. Devices are thus a potent tool for accessing the Metaverse, allowing users to experience the virtual world in 360 degrees and providing multisensory experiences that are not simply like the real ones but also more interesting.
Rising Capital looks forward to collaborating with people that have unique ideas to take the metaverse industry a notch higher. If you are looking for a backing in terms of resources, technology, networking, funding etc, apply here and we’ll get back to you.