Virtual and augmented reality: The story continues to develop

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magic leap
magic leap
The Magic Leap website

Progress and behind-the-scenes innovations in virtual/augmented reality are happening at an impressive pace. The three-dimensional, action-focused imagery — when, combined with BIM computer models, allows marketers to “build” a site from the ground up, virtually, hasn’t reached the mainstream yet, but I think we’ll see implementations within the next five years, and possibly much sooner. The rules will change when you can truly visualize the project, and AEC businesses which are able to adapt the tools in their marketing materials, I think, will have an edge.

Of course, unless you are a serious experimenter, you’ll find it a bit early. However, look at this Fast Company article suggesting some of Google’s innovations in this space.

No one is willing today to explain exactly what the heck Magic Leap is making that’ll replace all our rectangles, but it sounds like a blending of what we currently call augmented reality and virtual reality. In fact, Dr Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm’s executive chairman and one of Magic Leap’s new board advisors, along with Google executive Sundar Pichai, used precisely those two terms in an email to me explaining why he invested. “I’m not sure what the category will be called,” Tull says when I ask him, “but it augments and brings you into a world in a completely realistic, immersive way without taxing your eyes or brain.” Jacobs also called Magic Leap “immersive and engaging.” Abovitz acknowledges that he’s using “dynamic digitized light field technology” to build what an unnamed source let slip is currently called Dragonstone (a reference to half a dozen nerd touchstones, from Game of Thrones to Skyrim), and Tull dropped the word “glasses” at one point in our conversation in a way that inadvertently implied that’s what Magic Leap’s current hardware interface looks like.

vrbarAbovitz, though, is most eloquent today in defining Magic Leap by what it’s not. “It’s not holography, it’s not stereoscopic 3-D,” he says. “You don’t need a giant robot to hold it over your head, you don’t need to be at home to use it. It’s not made from off-the-shelf parts. It’s not a cellphone in a View-Master.” Late in our conversation, he begs me not to frame this story as being Google versus Facebook because of the search company’s direct investment–and even though I’m not, note that he’s the one who backhanded Facebook-owned Oculus VR twice without prompting.

Today, I got a peek at this site, The VR Bar, that has been applying Oculus VR, with some intriguing 3D modelling. You can see how the 3D renderings may be effective in demonstrating architectural and construction concepts — and your leadership in these areas.

You don’t need to be a bleeding-edge innovator, just yet, but I encourage you to keep this stuff in mind.

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