It’s no secret that augmented reality is on the cusp of changing the way we live, work, and play. From the enterprise to everyday life, AR has the potential to enhance our reality: by heightening our ability to learn, communicate, and interact, augmented reality enables us to engage more deeply with the real world “...allowing humans and machines to team together to achieve results neither could alone” (Deloitte 2017). Meta prides itself on offering the world’s most immersive AR experience, but why is immersion so important for compelling augmented reality experiences?
According to Mahdi Rahimi, Senior Computer Vision Engineer at Meta, immersion in AR is critical because it “gives the sense that there is only one world”, allowing users to experience a reality where there is little distinction between the rendered 3D holograms and the physical space. While immersion in virtual reality requires a user escape to an imaginary world, true immersion in augmented reality demands that a user experience both the digital and physical worlds simultaneously.
William Steptoe, a senior researcher in the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at University College London, confirms that “immersive AR embeds virtual content in the physical world and presents this mixed environment with a first-person perspective featuring head tracking, a wide field-of-view and stereoscopic rendering.”
No discussion of immersive AR would be complete without touching upon presence, or “a user’s psychological response to patterns of sensory stimuli, resulting in the psychological sensation of “being there” in the computer-generated space” (Steptoe 2014). Essential for understanding if virtual environments are effective, true presence in AR systems should inspire the user to lose a sense of mediation, with no discernable difference felt between the dual realities of the digital and the physical.
The Meta 2 certainly makes good on the promise of immersive AR by combining the power of the aforementioned core technologies with years of neuroscience research to ensure that users can interact with 3D holograms just like real objects, naturally extending the capabilities of the human brain and hand.
How does the Meta 2 deliver truly immersive AR experiences?
SLAM: Meta’s SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology accurately maps the 3D environment and seamlessly integrates digital content into the physical space. Perfected by our computer vision experts, the Meta 2 device is capable of real-time, low-latency head tracking and mapping of spaces in the user’s environment. These algorithms allow users to lock holograms in 3D space, contributing to a sense that the digital and physical worlds are seamlessly combined.
Optical Engine: Our optical engine delivers high-resolution stereoscopic 3D images on the physical world with the largest field of view (90 degrees) of any augmented reality headset on the market. At 20 pixels per degree (which ensures smooth readability) and a 2.5 k resolution, the display features a transparent visor that allows wearers to make eye contact with others while using the device.
Natural Hand Tracking: The Meta 2 features a proprietary, non-gesture-based hand tracking system that enables users to interact with holograms in a manner most consistent with real-world interactions. These natural gestures significantly reduce the learning curve for users by leveraging intuitive hand interactions and allowing virtual objects to have physical properties that mimic those that they might have in the real world.
According to professor Stefano Baldassi, formerly of Stanford, who is currently Senior Director of Neuroscience and Analytics at Meta, “SLAM and a large field of view ensures object continuity over a wide range of head movements, while direct hand manipulation of 3D holograms allows the brain to be engaged at full capacity, activating the perception and action loop. These brain systems allow us to interact with the physical world by understanding it, navigating it, and interacting with real-world objects. The sense of presence in an AR ecosystem offers a stronger “here”, or interaction with the presence of the physical world versus the “there” of VR experiences, which immerses users in a fictional world.”
Broad Commercial Applications: AR’s Enterprise Potential
One of immersive AR’s greatest opportunities lies in its potential to be of great use in a number of verticals across the enterprise. From real-time training prompts delivered to manufacturing workers when it’s most relevant to data presentation for knowledge workers to interactive 3D models that can augment a user’s ability to retain and integrate information in real-time, AR has broad commercial applications for data-rich environments and beyond. In the age of Big Data, AR augments the way that employees consume, share, and present information, ultimately aiding collaboration, productivity and efficiency.
Want to experience the immersiveness of the Meta 2 yourself? Purchase one today or visit our booth at MWC Americas in San Francisco from 09/12-09/14/2017.