Early this year, I had the opportunity to attend TECH (K) NOW International Women’s Day Conference. During that event, I was surprised to see a group of people clustered around a person wearing a lensed headset and was trying to grab some dark objects flying in the air. Nonetheless, it was not VR; rather, it was a show of mixed reality. However, what was it?
Typically, a mixed reality headset appears like an actual VR, but in essence, the two sphere technologies are incredibly different. First, MR does not provide complete relocation app into a clear digital space; instead, it mixes the digital with the physical. It can be urged to mean augmented reality but in an immersive and thorough way. The sensors and cameras integrated onto the MR headset scan the immediate environment, create a three-dimensional map of the users around so that the devices know when, and where to insert digital items in real space that can then be interacted and manipulated with by the user.
As soon as I tried out the lenses the Mixed Reality I was immersed. In fact, I could not help, and I went ahead to imagine the enormous potentials such technology would have to the entire book industry. I wanted to share my thinking, so I sat with one of the founders of the mixed reality studio, Becky Jones, who was highlighting the recent technology to have her say a word.
It is important to note that MR hasn’t been used for narrative content yet; however, coming to think of what other industries have achieved with the technology gives a clear insight into the potentials for digital publishing. Other industries like construction and architecture have used the technology in design and creation. Products designers can as well use it to create 3-D models, instantly view them, and check the design before passing the product into the production line.
Without a doubt, MR is an excellent tool for collaborative design work. It has powerful lenses that allow several users to work together in the same MR space. Other key areas that make use of MR include training and development where medical educators can use it to create 3-D life-size virtual bodies to teach lessons about anatomy. Another commercial use of MR technology is the use of 3-D catalogues to show product replicas in retail industries.
The next step for MR, which is more technical, is to add a volumetric video technology. If this is implemented, it will allow users to feel navigate and feel virtual objects with voice and gestures to give a complete sensory experience. That notwithstanding, there is also a possibility about narrative. An MR headset could, for instance, know where you’re when narrating a story and animate certain characters and settings. You can imagine reading the book “The Hobbit”, and as you turn the pages, a dragonfly emerges from the room landing straight on your feet and remaining there until when end the reading the chapter. It will be amazing! It is undeniable that this experience will resonate well with kid’s book industry. Currently, Carlton Press is using augmented reality when dinosaurs pop out of your tablet as you read their books available in their Digital Magic runs.
With MR, authors, especially those who are adventurous enough, will have an excellent chance of opening up their stories to readers. It could become an audio-visual and virtual version of Wattpad, a well-known platform that provides readers and other users with the opportunity to add stories and comment. In the end, we shall have something like co-authors of each book!