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Mixed reality blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds. Those blurred lines will soon be commonplace at events. Are you ready?
Lately, it seems like virtual reality has been getting all the press, and rightly so. The last two years have seen the technology advance at an unprecedented rate. With that advancement, naturally, comes new ideas and concepts. Mixed reality is one such concept and now, as we identified in our Trends Report, that too is beginning to gather pace.
What is Mixed Reality?
The clue is in the name. Simply put, mixed reality is a mixture of virtual and augmented reality. Where VR allows the user to interact with virtual things in a virtual world, mixed reality allows interaction with virtual things in the real world and vice versa.
It's very early days for mixed reality but the rate at which developers are creating applications for Microsoft's HoloLens platform, tells us that it can't be that not off. However, there's no release date for HoloLens in sight and they still have a lot of work to do before it comes to market.
A Holographic World
Microsoft isn't the only company making waves in the world of mixed reality. Movie fans at Sundance film festival last month were able to interact with a lifelike holographic John Hamm, thanks to a mixed reality app called Holo. Holo's developers, 8i plan to bring Holo to mobile users later this year. Using the smartphone camera to set the scene, users will be able to interact with holographic characters on their mobile screen, making the characters appear as if they are in the real world.
One of the issues with mixed reality is that it can be a very isolated experience. Until now, watching others use MR, whilst being initially quite amusing, hasn't been great for spectators. There are basically two choices: you can either watch what the user is seeing or watch them in the real world, waving their arms about.
The problem with watching what they are seeing is that their movements, even tiny movements, can lead to a very unpleasant viewing experience. If you suffer motion sickness, it's definitely not for you. The boffins at Microsoft have created something they're calling Spectator View for HoloLens, which essentially puts a camera in both the real and virtual worlds simultaneously. This allows the spectator to see what the user is doing in both realities from a third person perspective. When HoloLens finally arrives, this technology could make it a real hit in the e-sports arena.
Mixed Reality for Events
Mixed reality isn't just for gamers and movie fans. The potential for events is equally extensive and just as exciting. We had a quick brainstorm and came up with a few ideas below:
Speakers will be able to add more depth to their presentation by effectively changing the world around them to better suit the topic they are presenting. This could range from simple things like manipulating images and text in the space around them to completely changing the room they're presenting in. If your speaker wants the stage to become a desert island, so be it. No theatrical props needed.
Your Post-it planning wall is never big enough, is it? It will be with mixed reality. Not only could your wall be as big as you need it to be, you could even expand a note and turn it into a whiteboard. There's already a crayon app for drawing on walls. Post-it style notes and other planning tools will surely follow.
Spectators at future sports events will be able to see things as the never have before. Imagine you're watching the game and you miss your favourite team scoring. It happens. Don't worry, you can just rewind the game, pinch and zoom to the end zone and see what you missed as if you're right down there with them.
Concert-goers need not ever worry about having bad seats ever again. With mixed reality, music fans could effectively move the stage and the performers closer to them. Staging could also be easily changed in the virtual world to better suit the mood of the performance. Expect to see Beyoncé on stage, riding a unicorn sometime in the very near future.
Mixed reality is one of the most exciting technological advances we've ever seen and the possibilities are truly endless. It's mind blowing to think that we're only at the start of this new virtual revolution. Events will never be the same again. We can't wait.