Be it networking, performing professional duties, meeting new people, dating, attending rock concerts, playing video games, creating and distributing content, or selling and buying digital merchandise – all this and more is possible within the evolving and expanding world of Metaverse.
Those in tech agree that the Metaverse concept has treaded a long way toward becoming a reality. But for many on the outside, the Metaverse is a new concept that is still in its infancy but not without its fair share of immense promises. Hence an effort to introduce the Metaverse devices, you would need to gain access, and there are many giants who are already a step ahead in creating the metaverse tech. In Oct 2021, Meta announced that it would spend $10 billion over the course of the year 2022 to develop metaverse-related technologies. Apple had reported that it would be releasing a blended virtual reality-augmented reality headset that could cost up to $3,000. And Snapchat has been striving and dreaming to enter the augmented reality space for a while, however, its latest AR spectacles are not yet open to consumers.
The most practical and economical way of accessing the world of Metaverse, though not completely immersive, is through computers. Mainly because even today, the production of Metaverse Virtual Reality (VR) devices and Augmented Reality (AR) gadgets has not taken off on a large enough scale for them to become cost-effective. And on the other side, one of the most popular examples of a Metaverse operating via a mobile phone was the wildly popular game Pokémon Go. The game which cultivated a fan following of its own overlaid real life with Pokémon’s that could be captured by the game players. Besides these, the Metaverse can also be accessed through the metaverse wearable devices, which we will learn about ahead.
1. VR headsets
VR headsets seamlessly take you into the world of Metaverse. These high-tech goggles continuously adapt to display a digitized world around you by keeping up with your head movement. The company Meta till very recently, known as Facebook, produces Oculus Quest 2 headsets and has also released an app called Horizon Worlds, which rolls out the red carpet to the Meta-world for enthusiasts and old hands alike. Further, Sony’s gaming console PlayStation also has VR games that users can log into. Microsoft, on its part, produces HoloLens, another state-of-the-art VR headset. Thanks to accessible pricing and superior applications the market for VR/AR headsets grew at a whopping 92% YOY in 2021.
2. AR gadgets
The one key difference between VR headsets and AR gear is that while virtual reality headsets present a digital version of your reality, the AR gear overlays your physical reality with digital elements. Since AR gear makes the merging of physical reality with digital elements possible, it is a bit more expensive than VR headsets. The equipment is also quite large. However, with greater advancements in this technological sphere, tech gadgets are becoming lighter and more portable by the day. One AR gadget that has been resetting the bar in the Metaverse world is the AR goggle, popularly dubbed smart goggles. These glasses superimpose virtual or digital elements as well as videos, images, and holograms over reality, delivering an unprecedented experience to the user.
3. Smart lens
This AR technology is a step ahead of smart glasses and lets the user access the Metaverse by putting on a lens instead of a goggle. A few industry segments that originally did not warm up to the idea of smart glasses seem to be excited about the lenses considering the discretion that they offer to the person wearing them. Wading into sci-fi territory, there is talk that prototypes of these lenses assist with bad eyesight, border detection, and improved vision at night. 4. Haptic gloves
Pushing the Metaverse envelope further are haptic gloves that let the user wearing them experience tactile sensations inside the Metaverse. For instance, anyone touching a pet inside the Metaverse will be able to feel the same sensations on their skin as they would while playing with a cat or a dog in real life.
As technology progresses, these gloves will become lighter in weight and open new industrial avenues for their usage. 5. Wearable skins
This concept, once fully developed, will leave haptic gloves in the dust. A wearable skin, known as Reskin, possesses magnetic pores that create a magnetic aura around itself. When the skin meets another surface, a stimulus is received by the magnetic pores whose response is moderated by an AI and subsequently transferred into a sensation for the person wearing the Reskin.
Several markets are already abuzz with novel implementations and utilities of these skins. They can be used in objects such as prosthetics, haptic gloves, robotic fingers, and other devices that will make the Metaverse experience come to life. 6. Wristbands
H2L, a Sony-backed start-up, released wristbands in early 2022, which lets the user experience real-life events of Metaverse. Activities like throwing, catching, shaking, and touching things will have real-time feedback, and the start-up claims that all experiences – including pain will also be delivered via the wristbands.
We feel the success of the Metaverse medium is overwhelmingly dependent on the popularity and pricing of VR and AR devices. Sooner rather than later, Metaverse will leap into the mainstream if devices become progressively cheaper and smaller. For now, the future trajectory of these devices seems a bit hazy, given that there are plenty of innovations that will have to be optimized by companies and directed toward large-scale commercial and industrial production. However, the fact that several IT giants are all funneling huge investments into their Metaverse projects signals that the medium has a bright future in store for it.
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