What is the Metaverse? Why does it matter?

Recently, anyone, even a non-regular user of social media, has come across the term metaverse. This term actually existed even before but was brought to the forefront when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook will now be known as Meta. Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse is an online virtual world that we can access and have experiences in using Virtual and Augmented Reality headsets. Let’s see below more detailed information on what exactly metaverse is and the importance it has.

What is the Metaverse?

The term Metaverse — which has recently gained so much popularity — continues to dominate the internet search trends due to the renaming of Facebook as Meta. Metaverse is predicted to radically transform the way we live in the world around us. But what does this term Metaverse really mean? We can define Metaverse as a simulated digital environment that uses Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world. As I mentioned above, due to the announcement that Facebook’s future would be in the metaverse, we can consider this as a social sphere where people will have the opportunity to meet each other thanks to personalized avatars. In fact, this is what makes the difference from simple phone calls, the ability to become similar to the feeling of real life.

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Why does the Metaverse matter?

Nowadays people are driven to adopt new and innovative methods to improve and more easily perform their tasks, and not only. At the same time favored by the pandemic, avatar-based social games have reached the peak of demand for use. The importance of metaverse spaces lies in the fact that in parallel as we interact in our real life we will have the opportunity to perform any task of daily routine included entertainment within this space. It is worth mentioning here that at the moment metaverse does not exist yet. What is currently accessible are Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). The ability to integrate the physical and virtual world enables metaverse to incorporate AR, VR, and MR in several everyday use-cases and domains such as entertainment, manufacturing, health care, collaboration, sports, and training.

What’s the difference between AR, VR, AND MR?

What is worth mentioning here is that the fundamental difference is that VR users have an entirely virtual experience, while virtual elements are added to AR users’ real-world experience. MR users can interact with these added virtual elements during their real-world experiences.

Augmented Reality (AR): is a computer-based technology that combines the digital world with the real world. It works on the computer vision of real-world surfaces and objects detected by systems like object recognition, plane detection, facial recognition, movement tracking, and more. Then it overlaps computer-generated data such as graphics, sounds, images, and texts accordingly on these planes detected before. By doing so, AR enhances the interaction between digital items while letting us see our real-world surroundings.

Virtual Reality (VR): is a technology that uses software and headset devices to replace one’s view from the real world with a digitally created scene. Using full-coverage headsets completely blocks out your surroundings and shuts out the physical world while using. With the LCD or OLED panels inside the lenses of these headset devices, a computer-generated virtual environment is reflected, and your worldview is replaced. Usually, the devices are connected to a PC, console, or smartphone that provides virtual visions. These visions can be replicas of a real-world place or a place from an entirely imaginary world.

Mixed Reality (MR): as its name implies, is a combination of AR and VR. It is also specified as Hybrid Reality as it blends real-world and digital elements. While it is mainly a technology used for mixing the physical and virtual world, the best side of MR is the realistic interaction between the users and the digital objects.

What’s next?

As I mentioned above the concept of the metaverse is still in its infancy and it is not known how long it will take to create it. What is clear is the major role it will play in everyday reality and in the way people use and interact with technology. The advantages that are expected to be gained from metaverse seem also to have great importance as are the expectations for the popularity it will gain. The massive meta-implications that are expected will affect various areas, thus further expanding the horizons of technology in our daily lives.

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What is the Metaverse? Why does it matter? was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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