We’ve seen a lot of AR headsets over the years, from Google Glass to Meta’s Quest Pro, and this month Apple has also jumped on this bandwagon. Apple’s Vision Pro has tech enthusiasts hooting and hollering over the future of mixed reality. But what’s all the hype about?
We’ve been using mobile phones for a while now, and we’ve seen these devices go through a variety of upgrades over the years, becoming a primary, everyday gadget for a vast majority of people. We haven’t seen an invention as life-changing as the smartphone in the last two decades, but spacial computing could be the next big thing.
To learn what all the hype is about mixed reality, I clicked on Apple’s Vision Pro introduction video, and boy was I surprised. It looks as though the actors are part of something ethereal—with their goggles, hand gestures, and theatre-sized virtual screens, which you navigate with (drum roll) your eyes!
I felt profound astonishment at how far humankind has come after watching the video, but it also left me with an uncomfortable question: Is this really our future?
Meta signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with the NBA in January this year to promote its VR capabilities, advertising its Quest headset during broadcasts of NBA games. You can use the headset to stream an NBA game and watch it from a front-row seat, all from the comfort of your own living room.
But it’s highly questionable if these headsets will become everyday devices as smartphones did. Apple’s senior executives didn’t even wear the Vision Pro (the next-gen gadget that supposedly will revolutionize mixed reality) while announcing it at the WWDC. Maybe it’s because Apple didn’t want a meme spree before the market release of the product. But whatever the case, we have a long way to go before these headsets become an everyday devices; it’s inconvenient to plonk these ski-goggle-sized headsets on when we’re out and about in our daily lives. But if these headsets are designed into sleek-looking glasses, there’s a chance we could see that change.
Apart from this, there’s a dark side to this cutting-edge technology. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR and designer of the Oculus Rift, claims to have created a VR headset that kills its users in real life when they die in-game.
As of now, mixed reality is in its nascent stage, and there are both good and bad sides to it. Hopefully, in the coming years, we see mixed reality put to good use in domains such as medicine and education, taking this invention to the next stage. Mixed reality is largely present and has the potential to shape the future, but only time will tell if it’s truly beneficial or not.
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