More Than Meta!

The Most Exciting Developments in Immersive Reality

Sam Decker, Todd Little

March 20, 2023

The world of immersive reality is constantly evolving, with new and exciting developments happening all the time. Here are some of the most exciting developments that are happening right now.

Image made with MidJourney

AI is getting better

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly important in the immersive reality space. It allows us to conceptualize ideas and worlds faster, from a textual, visual, and auditory perspective. With the help of AI, we can create agents that can populate those worlds and make them feel more consistent. OpenAI's GPT-4 and other big players who are integrating AI into their platforms are the ones to watch in this space.

Our SXSW 2023 immersive showcase used Meta Quest Pro headsets with passthrough views.

Feature rich hardware

On the hardware side, eye-tracking is becoming a standard sensor in most headsets. This will give us a lot of powerful analytic data on where people are looking, as well as understanding their intent and responding accordingly. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are also very exciting, as they could potentially allow users to perform actions much faster than typing on a keyboard, for example. Although BCI technology is not yet shipping, it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

NPT Interactive Ads using our ARLO webAR technology.

More Web AR Platform Players

From a software perspective, we are seeing a lot of exciting developments in web-based AR and VR. Platforms like 8th Wall, A-Frame, and our internally-built webAR platform, ARLO, are making it much more accessible for the general public to experience immersive reality. The Needle Engine is also a promising system that supports WebAR and WebVR.

Getting more spatial

One of the key ingredients in Spatial Computing is the ability to place virtual content accurately and persistently. We are seeing the big players in this space, such as Meta, Microsoft, Niantic, Snap, and Google, creating their versions of Spatial Anchors, Waypoints, Custom Landmarkers, and Geospatial Anchors. All of these technologies are using a similar technique, but just called something different. This is exciting because it allows us to place virtual content with centimeter accuracy instead of relying on GPS, which has a 30ft variance. We can create experiences that cater to both the users and the physical environment they are in, making the experience much more personalized and meaningful.

There’s been recent news about what Meta may or may not be doing in or for “metaverse” space. That shouldn’t eclipse a much larger picture of what is coming and becoming possible. AI, eye-tracking, BCIs, web-based AR and VR, and Spatial Anchors are just a few of the technologies that are changing the game. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this space and the incredible experiences that will be created.