Why AR, not VR, will be the heart of the metaverse

Why AR, not VR, will be the heart of the metaverse

Why AR, not VR, will be the heart of the metaverse

Image Credit: Selman Keles/Getty


This article was contributed by Louis Rosenberg, CEO and chief scientist at Unanimous AI

My first experience in a virtual world was in 1991 as a PhD student working in a virtual reality lab at NASA. I was using a variety of early VR systems to model interocular distance  (i.e. the distance between your eyes) and optimize depth perception in software. Despite being a true believer in the potential of virtual reality, I found the experience somewhat miserable. Not because of the low fidelity, as I knew that would steadily improve, but because it felt confining and claustrophobic to have a scuba mask strapped to my face for any extended period.

Even when I used early 3D glasses (i.e. shuttering glasses for viewing 3D on flat monitors), the sense of confinement didn’t go away. I still had to keep my gaze forward, as if wearing blinders to the real world. There was nothing I wanted more than to take the blinders off and allow the power of virtual reality to be splattered across my real physical surroundings.

This sent me down a path to develop the Virtual Fixtures system for the U.S. Air Force, a platform that enabled users to manually interact with virtual objects that were accurately integrated into their perception of a real environment. This was before phrases like “augmented reality” or “mixed reality” had been coined. But even in those early days, watching users enthusiastically experience the prototype system, I was convinced the future of computing would be a seamless merger of real and virtual content displayed all around us.

Why AR, not VR, will be the heart of the metaverse


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