Every few years the realm of technology is revolutionized in one way or another. The progress started slow with the creation of things like radio, television, and industry tools. Yet after the advent of the internet everything changed. Suddenly computers, phones, automation, AI, and a slew of other innovations exploded onto the scene.
Today, a majority of the world is on and using the internet in some capacity. It’s become so commonplace in some nations that it’s bizarre to imagine a world without it. The question then has become what comes next? There are a few potential answers, the power of AI representing a very likely space for innovation. Yet spatial computing remains as one of the most likely and influential answers.
The Rise of Spatial Computing
Spatial computing is technology made to augment, interact with, or overlay onto reality. Virtual reality or VR is likely the most well known today. VR puts the user into an entirely virtual world that they can then interact with. This works in contrast to augmented reality which adds specific elements or context to physical reality. A very practical example would be glasses that show a surgeon the correct path for spinal placement.
These forms of spatial computing, and combinations of the two, have been in development for years. Currently they’re still more than likely big clunky goggles, but they’re steadily shrinking as any technology does. By 2024 alone, there will be an estimated 1.4 billion active augmented reality devices alone.
Currently these products see heavy use in the world of gaming. VR today is synonymous with the most integrated and expensive gaming experience. Yet spatial computing has significant applications for health, education, and work alongside play and gaming. AR gives workers the ability to build models without wasting real materials. VR can be used as in classroom settings for more tailored and specific teaching experiences. Both can be used in hospital settings for more exact and tailored care.
These are just a few ways that spatial computing is starting to become integrated into more and more ways of life. While many forms are still heavily in development, experts predict it won’t be long before they can start to replace smartphones. They offer an alternative that’s better on the eyes, more efficient, and with potentially better visuals.
All that’s being said here is, of course, optimistic. There are still many innovations that have to be made and that’s without discussing issues of accessibility. At the same time though history has shown us the power of technological innovation. 20 years ago the first iPhone wasn’t even released. One can only imagine what we’ll see in everyone’s hands, or on everyone’s face, in another 20 years.