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2024 Will Be a Huge Year For MR, AI, and Wearable Tech

It looks increasingly like 2024 will be a pivotal year in technology. All of the streams are coming together and the lines between physical and digital technologies are becoming narrower. By the end of the year – even if it is just a few short months away – we expect to see huge leaps forward in spatial computing, and this will only accelerate.

For those who are a little uncertain, the term “spatial computing” refers to a collection of technologies that includes augmented reality, virtual reality, vehicles that drive themselves, and robotics. Because it enables computers to “perceive,” interact with, and effectively travel through three-dimensional space, the technology niche is already revolutionising the way in which we engage with the real world. As a result, this collection of previously unconnected streams are quickly amalgamating, and are going to produce experiences that are more immersive than ever before.

MR Grows Up.

Mixed reality headsets, which are more versatile than traditional head-mounted displays for virtual reality, are undergoing a big change that we are currently witnessing. In 2023, Meta introduced the Meta Quest 3, which marked the beginning of this step-change evolution. However, the real game-changer is expected to emerge this year, when Apple introduced the Vision Pro, a spatial computer that has been eagerly anticipated by many.  

As of right now, the Apple iPhone is already making significant headway in a variety of commercial and leisure industries, and is likely to become a major part of the growing AI market. Also, towards the end of this year, we anticipate the launch of the combined MR gadget that Samsung and Google have developed, which is anticipated to be a significant step forward in the industry. Possibly priced below the Apple device, the Samsung/Google system could well be the system leader that we need.

MR devices are now well-developed and with the basic technological issues now resolved, they are expected to grow in a meteoric way. With this technology, users are able to see their physical environment and communicate with people around them while wearing the headset, making a meld of the two. This technology addresses one of the most significant drawbacks of virtual reality, which is the sensation of being alone. In addition to this, it offers a novel approach to user engagement by utilising the users’ own environments.

In reality, MR technology is still in its infancy. Even though they were expensive and cumbersome, early personal computers were far enough ahead of their time to entice early users and improve family life. MR is very similar in its market position, but the technology itself is so much more enticing to start with, there will plainly be ongoing innovation in this field, with a focus on making things more user-friendly in terms of design and comfort, display quality, and tracking and interaction, and that will just make the devices more desirable.

Like PC’s, once the tech becomes available, people will start to develop usable content for it, thereby inflating the market. In the 1950’s, many deemed that the world would only have the need for six computers because there was simply no use for individuals or households to have the warehouse-sized instruments. However, the advent of micro-electronics and the development of platforms such as Windows meant that almost every household in the developed world owns a computer.  This is likely to happen in a greatly accelerated way with the MR technology.  

We have already seen serious technical applications for the Apple Vision Pro system from the likes of eXeX, and its power means that many other developers are already working on applications utilising it’s abilities.

It’s Not Just MR.

This year is also likely to see a huge upsurge in the use and growth of wearable smart devices. Highly important to this development are wearable tech such as smart glasses, which provide these AI systems with “eyes” and “ears” in the form of microphones and cameras. This greatly enhances the naturalness and contextual relevance of our relationships. These gadgets can convey information to us in novel ways, such as through auditory or visual projections, which are less invasive and more natural than staring at screens all the time. When all of these peripheral gadgets are linked, artificial intelligence will become even more powerful and capable of doing a whole lot more for humans.

While MR and Wearables might seem to be two different technology fields, they are becoming increasingly entwined. The recent Meta RayBan glasses are a perfect example of how AI can be incorporated into everyday items and help to deliver a range of content to the user. With these on the market, we can expect others to follow this lead and start to develop their own wearable devices. Once these become mainstream, it won’t take much for elements of MR to be incorporated into smart eyewear.

If you have a technical development in mind, we at Unity Developers are keen to work with you. Why not contact us and see how we can help you.