Recently my daughter became eager to learn the alphabet. If possible, she wants to be able to read and write immediately. She, therefore, pesters her parents for practicing with her every day.
Admittedly, that is quite exhausting. It involves effort and frustration from both sides. However, we keep encouraging her because, in the end, a whole new world awaits, a fantastic one. Lifelong learning: activated.
As a project manager coming from a different industry, I realized I underwent a similar transition recently. I am also learning a new language: the language of tech.
I sat in meetings where I could only guess — about baking and building, coding and compiling, remote access to computers, and polygons in images and found myself saying, "does everybody know what they are supposed to do?”. Because for me it was not so clear.
It was not a walk in the park, as you can imagine. But I was lucky to be supported by caring and helping hands to find my way around. And eventually, the more you know, the more interesting it gets, as with my daughter's endeavors. You start to make connections, form words and build them into sentences. Then, slowly but surely, a new world opens up.
If you are already a pro in the industry, you might want to end here and take the message to share your knowledge and enthusiasm.
A great way to do so is by joining the XR Vienna community on Discord.
For newbies like me, I compiled my little alphabet of AR, VR, and XR to help you start to form the first connections and hopefully get inspired to use it as a new way to learn, understand and have fun with technology.
Read it top to bottom, which is not in alphabetical order to make more sense, or jump to the terms that interest you the most; it's up to you how you want to proceed.
I hope this little list of mine helps you get kickstarted into the fascinating (and ever-evolving) world of immersive technologies. But for now I leave you to your reading and I will go do some myself with the little one.
The 360 video describes a broad view from the camera's point of view in all directions. It allows the viewer to look around in 360 degrees (hence, the name) and determine their field of view. 360 videos are made with special 360-degree cameras.
Modern 360 cameras usually use two 180-degree ultra-wide angle cameras mounted on the sides, which are "stitched" together using software to create a 360-degree image. There are many different manufacturers of 360-degree cameras, the best known of which are Insta360, KanDao, and GoPro, which offer both professional and entry-level cameras.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a view of the physical world using an overlay of digital elements.
AR filters are usually available on social media channels and are overlays or masks that are virtually placed around or on the face.
An AR device can range from a standard smartphone or a tablet with a camera to impressive pieces of lenses such as the magic leap. The position and shape of the face in these devices is determined by software, and an AR filter can then be placed over it. However, there are also smartphones with dedicated depth sensors, which project an infrared matrix (many small points of light) onto the face and thus guarantee an even more precise AR representation.
An avatar is a digitally-created representation of a user in a virtual world. And also a film by James Cameron.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a digital environment that allows you to fully immerse yourself in a virtual world using a VR head-mounted display. Through an image calculated separately for both eyes (similar to the 3D glasses we get at the cinema), you get a three-dimensional, realistic view and can move freely in this world.
VR sickness is a form of nausea that can occur with immersion in a computer-generated environment. It is caused by uneven movement of the virtual avatar in relation to the player's real body and has symptoms similar to seasickness. Some people are more susceptible to VR sickness than others, so don’t get intimidated by it. Got VR sickness? Find out for yourself.
Virtual Reality headsets can be roughly divided into two categories: tethered (wired) VR headsets, which require a separate device (a PC or console) for use, and standalone VR head mounted displays (HMD), which do not need this and function independently.
VR headsets that are connected to a PC or console can also only be used on location (your home, office, livingroom, etc. due to its fixed sensors). They offer better graphics performance and are usually connected via cable, but progressively VR headsets are supporting wireless connection via WiFi. The best-known PCVR glasses are the Valve Index and HTC Vive, and the best-known console VR glasses are the PSVR and recently PSVR 2, which can only be used in conjunction with a Sony PS4 or PS5.
Standalone VR HMDs have the great advantage of being able to be used anywhere, as well as being easier to operate and set up, and are therefore recommended for beginners. However, they offer lower graphics performance and a somewhat less sharp image. The best-known and most widespread standalone VR headset is the Meta Quest 2, formerly known as Oculus Quest.
XR stands for Extended Reality and is an umbrella term for Virtual-, Augmented-, and Mixed-Reality.
An immersive experience is a synthetic environment in a virtual world designed for users to dive into a digital experience using most of their senses. Users get involved in this digital setting and, to a certain extent, they pause the physical world around them. The word comes from the Latin word "immersio" —to immerse, to submerge.
To create a successful immersive experience, the virtual world must have a coherent behaviour in the computer-controlled environment and a wide range of possibilities to interact with the virtual world.
POV (Point of View) is a camera shot reflecting a protagonist's view.
This is a tough one. But the best approximation to a realistic definition of the metaverse is that it’s a digitally-created and interoperable space in which virtual and physical reality meet seamlessly.