Can you recall the last time you were so excited and geared up to watch a product launch as during the recent Apple virtual reality headset launch, Vision Pro? The headset, one of its kind, is set to start a revolution in AR/VR innovation. If anything, it will forever change how we view headsets and computers. The launch also gave us a peek at the potential of immersive technologies if companies are willing to put effort and resources into work. But what is this mysterious technology that can effortlessly blend the real world into the digital world? Stay put because we will take you to the exciting world of spatial computing, where digital creations are a thinly separate reality.
- What is Spatial Computing?
- How does Spatial Computing work?
- How is it Improving Life and Work?
- 1. Matching computer programming and human perception of the world
- 2. Enables new physical workflows
- 3. Automates the process of creating digital twins
- 4. Brings together robotic process automation and physical automation
- 5. Enables new ways of interacting between people, robots, and products in physical space
- 6. Help companies measure the performance of physical process variations
- 7. Enables the orchestration of multiple physical processes
- 8. Improves the design of processes and objects
- How is the Spatial Computing technologies evolving?
- Adapting to this Changing World of Technology
- Benefits of Adopting Spatial Computing
What is Spatial Computing?
The term Spatial computing describes how humans can interact with computers in a virtual space, interacting with user interfaces on the internet, TV, playing media files, video games, and much more without the need for physical computers. It lets you create, change, and experience digital stuff concerning your surroundings.
It is not a new term. Simon Greenwold defined it in 2023 as human interaction with computers where the machine-generated objects integrate into the real world and spaces along with real things and humans can perform physical actions, pinch, and move head and body to give input. Today, immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Extended Reality (XR), computer vision, and AI are thriving. In the world of spatial computing, all these work in beautiful synchronicity in an attempt to create a different reality that makes you feel you are in your device itself.
You don’t have to interact with the hardware or any other device; that’s where AR/VR/MR and other features like AI and computer vision all play their important roles in helping you do everything with simple gestures like the movement of hands or your vision. But from the POV of technicalities, it’s more challenging than it seems. A huge amount of computation power and top-notch execution is needed to make it all happen while the user doesn’t feel any inconsistencies.
How does Spatial Computing work?
It is like how we interact with things, people, animals, and goals in the real world. Our eyes capture the information, which it sends to our brain. It then uses that information to build the world we see. Spatial computing does the same job. It builds a virtual world around our surroundings that we can interact with. It has multiple steps:
To begin with, techniques like photogrammetry, lidar, and radar capture a 3D model of the world. Lidar or radar captures a 3D model by bouncing a laser or radio signal off things around a scanner to automatically measure the distance to each point. These images and angles are now converted into 3D models using AI-based software.
Putting the soul
Second, techniques like machine vision analyze this data to make sense of the images. AI techniques help identify different things in a scene, look for problems, understand how people or animals move, or compare how different workers do tasks. Then they try to implement them into the 3D models created for this digital reality. Through the first step, you got a body to work on. By using the data, these bodies now have a task to perform.
Everything to work
The third aspect is about taking action. For example, A self-driving car sees a person in front and stops the car immediately. A building control system decides to change the heat or the light when someone walks into a room based on their preferences stored in a database. The actions in these examples are possible because of the analysis of the digital 3D image captured from the real processes.
Spatial Computing Examples
The technology is not limited to a few use cases but expands across work, collaboration, utility, entertainment, and various sectors. You will find the answer yourself once we discuss the potential applications it can have.
Immersive experiences make learning fun and effective by providing interactive and engaging content that sparks curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. For example, you can explore historical places or scientific phenomena in Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality or use holograms to see complex concepts or models. You can use it to provide quality education when physical classrooms are not feasible. Many possibilities can come alive when you think of education paired with immersive technologies. Sure enough, some companies are already working to bring them to reality.
The entertainment industry is going to change forever. You will experience movies and shows as if they are happening before you. Isn’t that wild? Imagine watching a football match and experiencing everything as someone in the stands but in a better way. Multiplexes already plagued by the success of OTT will find a much better competitor as people will get a better experience than cinema on their couch using a headset.
We all love playing games. With spatial computing, you can even be a part of those games we love, playing the characters in your favorite games and roaming around the simulated fantasy worlds. Games like Zelda, genshin Impact, and other open-world games will no longer be a world on your screens. You will be able to live it.
Some people love to do activities like hiking, skiing, trekking, and more, but various reasons stop them from going to a convenient place to try them. But now, you can enjoy these activities with the help of spatial computers and enjoy them as you would in the physical world.
You will no longer have to visit hospitals to get a diagnosis. Your doctor can easily examine and interact with you and prescribe treatment and medicines. It is possible with an immersive video chat experience. Spatial computing enhances the immersive of video calls. The doctor can see you better even on a call if you can’t visit hospitals.
Have you ever wondered how great it would be to purchase furniture, clothes, and other important things and view them as you can in the real world? With spatial computing, it will be possible soon. Retailers who have to be competitive in the field will have to up their game, implement these techniques, and adapt to this changing way of shopping. It will be bigger and much more widespread than e-commerce.
We all love traveling. But sometimes, because of financial limitations and other responsibilities, it’s not feasible to travel. But that could soon change with the technology in question. You can enjoy mountains and beaches from the comfort of your couch and the costs will be a fraction of the original cost. If the development goes at the right speed, we might even have special services that help you get the complete experience of places worldwide by wearing a small headset.
How is it Improving Life and Work?
The technology will likely make life easier with increasing adoption, and people using it to improve work and enhance their experience at home, in the office, or while working remotely. Let us look at underlying concepts that come to play:
1. Matching computer programming and human perception of the world
Spatial computing allows programmers to use natural concepts like location, distance, direction, and orientation to create applications that match how humans perceive and navigate the world. Now, they can use and process this information to create a copy of the world we call the physical world. It helps to create a world that can be straight from someone’s imagination.
2. Enables new physical workflows
Ever fascinated by the workflows as they show in sci-fi? That is going to turn into reality very soon. There will soon be new ways of performing tasks and activities in physical space that were not possible or practical before. For example, workers can use spatial computing glasses to see instructions or feedback on their field of view to train or collaborate in virtual environments.
3. Automates the process of creating digital twins
We can automate the creation of digital twins, virtual replicas of physical objects or systems that can be used for simulation, analysis, or optimization. For example, spatial computing can use computer vision and AI to scan and model physical assets or facilities in real time and update them as they change.
4. Brings together robotic process automation and physical automation
When we design spatial computing, it can be programmed to find connections between robotic process automation (RPA), which uses software robots to automate repetitive tasks on digital platforms, and physical automation to control hardware objects in the real world. For example, it can use computer vision and AI to coordinate and control multiple robots that can perform complex tasks in physical space.
5. Enables new ways of interacting between people, robots, and products in physical space
Video calls and meets are tools of the past. Today, you can recreate the location of the participants and interact as you do in the real world. Spatial computing is enabling new ways of interacting between people, robots, and products in physical space, enhancing communication, collaboration, and coordination. For example, it can use MR to create shared spaces where people and robots can see and interact with each other and with digital content that appears in their environment. Imagine Alexa or Google Assistant in physical form! That day is not far.
6. Help companies measure the performance of physical process variations
Spatial computing can help companies measure the performance of physical process variations by providing data and insights on how different factors affect the outcomes. For example, it can use computer vision and AI to track and analyze how different layouts, designs, or workflows affect a physical process’s efficiency, quality, or safety.
7. Enables the orchestration of multiple physical processes
The orchestration of multiple physical processes using a unified platform that can monitor and control different aspects of a complex system sounds convincing. For example, computer vision and AI integration can manage and optimize the flow of materials, energy, or information across a supply chain or a smart city.
8. Improves the design of processes and objects
Spatial computing can help create 3D spaces for projects that are too expensive to be made with flaws. In 3D space, you can try different scenarios, see each version’s flaws, and improve. If not other blunders, it will help in solving a lot of architectural blunders that happen due to poor modeling and is often too expensive to make any changes in the future.
How is the Spatial Computing technologies evolving?
Building over the years
In recent years, immersive technology has become more accessible and affordable thanks to special hardware, software, and connectivity advancements. As opposed to initial years of development, today, we have advanced devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, glasses, and headsets that allow us to experience stunning graphics and data. The sensors and cameras have also improved, enabling us to accurately capture and analyze our surroundings and movements.
Cloud and edge computing have given us greater storage and processing capabilities for spatial apps. With 5G networks and Wi-Fi 6 making their way, we can now enjoy faster and more reliable data transfer. Real-time interactions are seamless and with minimal delays. Also, AI has played a crucial role in advancing technologies that aid the idea of spatial computing.
Apple Vision Pro and Spatial Computing
With the mass adoption of XR and immersive technology, a new era of tech and development will start. How we develop and use applications and interact with them will or has already started to change. The recently announced Apple Vision Pro is one of the most impressive examples of achieving that feat in spatial computing. It is a standalone headset with an ultra-high-resolution display system that packs 23 million pixels across two displays and custom Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design to ensure everything the user sees feels real.
Vision Pro also features a breakthrough input system that uses the user’s eyes, hands, and voice to control the device without needing a dedicated controller. Users can access their favorite apps at any scale, enjoy stunning TV shows and movies, capture and relive memories, connect with others on FaceTime, and much more. The headset introduced one of its kind UI/UX for its completely new OS for vision pro that will become the norm for the rest of the industry in just a few years. This OS completely differs from what you have ever used or interacted with and requires a skill set that is yet not common.
The development needs for such technology with new features will be huge. Apple also launched a set of tools to help developers make special applications for its headset.
Adapting to this Changing World of Technology
If there is something that goes parallelly with Change, that is adaptation. Industries worldwide will have to adapt to the change brought up by spatial computing sooner or later. It will change their operations and force them to upskill their workers similarly. Scalability and computation power were huge issues in the past, but Apple has found a way out, and soon the others will follow the course. Spatial computers will be no bigger and easier to carry than our laptops or other devices that can provide this level of functionality.
The obvious choice here is how fast you will choose to adopt. The sooner you do, the chance of making the best out of benefits becomes more apparent. While spatial computer costs are comparatively high, they will decrease with time and increase adoption. There is a lot of hype and expectation around the possibilities it opens in different sectors, but if we go by history, a piece of tech with such potential always has out visioned most of the experts and business gurus.
Benefits of Adopting Spatial Computing
Spatial computing has various benefits that will completely change your work or engage with entertainment. You no longer have to bury your head in cubicles and desktops. You can interact with people far away as they are with you and enjoy entertainment in a way previously not heard of.
1. Supercharge your Work
The future of work and workspaces will likely change forever. You no longer need to look at your computer screens or stroke your laptop keys for hours. You can multitask, navigate and switch projects at your fingertips. All you need is a headset that takes you to the amazing virtual worlds.
2. Your Home is no Longer Small
You can create and save different environments based on 3D mapping and you no longer have to be limited to a particular landscape, all you need is to wear your headset and you can navigate between different environments according to your mood. Gamers can design their environment based on their favorite game. If you love nature, you can create a landscape design based on it.
3. Say hello to gesture navigation!
As we already talked about, you don’t need any physical gear like keyboards, mouses, headphones, etc. Gesture navigation is a new technology that helps you to navigate and work all through gestures and movements, like your eyes and fingers.
4. Take interaction to the next level
Have you ever been bored in a Zoom meeting? Well, that is going to change, with spatial headsets, you can create a meeting room of your choice and avatars that are very similar to reality. It will completely change the interaction dynamics and increase the awareness that was often curbed down by the ordinary interface of different virtual meeting applications.
5. A new way of entertainment
Entertainment has been taking place with every new technology. It won’t be any different with the technology in question. But it may be bigger than the last developments. Consuming content is better than ever with media companies like Disney coming together with immersive tech brands to create content that shines with spatial computing. Entertainment will be completely different from what we know now.
The pace at which world and technology change is rapid and swift. No one can accurately map the extent of impact they can have on our lives, be it metaverse, Web-3, or spatial computing. These technologies will soon reach their full potential and change a large chunk of the world we see today. Apple has paved the way for others, and some of the biggest challenges previously seen as obstacles have been crushed. The world is looking forward to a world of immersive technologies reaching their full potential. And if you are considering beginning your journey of immersive technology, look no further. With PlugXR creator, individuals and brands have already succeeded in recreating their products and showroom into simulated experiences that people can immerse themselves in and interact with for unmatching customer experience.