Mon Jun 26 2023
Founders & Tech Leaders

Apple Vision Pro's Contribution to Spatial Computing

Maryam Khurram
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In a remarkable scenario, envision Martha, an octogenarian who maintains her independence with the aid of a wheelchair. What sets her living space apart is the comprehensive digitization of every object within it.

Through the integration of internet-enabled sensors and devices, along with the fusion of digital and object maps, Martha's home becomes a seamless blend of physical and digital realms.

As Martha maneuvers from her bedroom to the kitchen, an automated symphony unfolds. The lights flicker on in response to her presence, while the ambient temperature adjusts to her comfort.

Notably, her wheelchair intuitively slows down when her feline companion crosses her path, ensuring their safety. Upon reaching the kitchen, the table gracefully shifts to optimize her access to the refrigerator and stove, only to retreat when she is ready to dine.

Later, if Martha encounters a potential fall hazard while entering her bed, her furniture swiftly repositions itself to shield her from harm, simultaneously alerting her son and the local monitoring station.

At the core of this transformative spectacle lies spatial computing, heralding the next stride in the convergence of the tangible and digital universes. Its capabilities parallel those of virtual reality and augmented reality applications, as it digitizes interconnected objects through cloud connectivity.

This framework empowers sensors and motors to interact with one another, all while digitally mirroring the real world. However, spatial computing surpasses these technologies by incorporating high-fidelity spatial mapping.

This groundbreaking feature enables a computer "coordinator" to meticulously monitor and regulate the movements and interactions of objects as individuals traverse through either the digital or physical realm.

The imminent integration of spatial computing is poised to revolutionize human-machine and machine-machine interactions, propelling various domains—such as industry, healthcare, transportation, and the home—towards unprecedented levels of efficiency.

Recognizing its potential, major corporations, including Microsoft and Amazon, have made substantial investments in this groundbreaking technology.

Curious to explore the astounding journey from science fiction to reality? Keep reading.

Understanding Spatial Computing

The history of user interfaces (UI) has been a continuous journey of evolution and innovation. It all began in the 1960s with command-line interfaces, where users had to rely on typing commands to interact with computers. However, this changed in the 1980s with the introduction of graphical user interfaces (GUI).

By utilizing icons and windows to represent commands and files, GUIs revolutionized computer accessibility for both experts and non-expert users alike. As the internet gained prominence in the 1990s, web-based interfaces became the standard.

Then, in the mid-2000s, the emergence of smartphones and tablets introduced touch-based interfaces, fundamentally transforming our interaction with digital devices.

However, the concept of spatial computing goes beyond individual technological solutions. It encompasses the convergence of familiar sci-fi concepts such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

VR creates computer-generated 3D environments that surround and respond to users' actions, while AR technology advancements seamlessly integrate real-time text, graphics, audio, and virtual enhancements with real-world objects.

When we combine the immersive 3D environments of VR with the valuable visual enhancements and information offered by AR, we arrive at the remarkable realm of spatial computing.

Although Simon Greenwold first defined spatial computing in 2003 as human interaction with machines that manipulate and retain references to real-life objects and spaces, the technology itself is relatively new. Some of the groundbreaking solutions built upon this foundation have only emerged within the past few years.

Apple Vision Pro: Breaking the Boom-and-Bust Cycle in VR and AR

Apple's debut of the Vision Pro headset, integrating virtual and augmented reality, received mixed reactions, including skepticism and criticism.

However, Apple's new device has the potential to break the boom-and-bust cycle of previous VR and AR headsets and become a revolutionary computing platform.

The Vision Pro is seen as a prop from a science fiction film, but it could avoid the overhyped path taken by Facebook's Meta, which failed to impress consumers with its clunky headsets.

Apple's headset, called a spatial computer, could lead to a new era of wearable computing, replacing traditional devices like desktops, laptops, and mobile phones.

The device allows users to transition easily between VR and AR modes, offering improved resolution and capabilities. It also has access to the vast library of apps available on the iPhone's App Store.

Apple's historical success lies in providing the best iteration of existing technologies, and the Vision Pro headset follows this trend by doubling the capabilities of most extended reality headsets.

The Vision Pro's content offerings include Disney's, which will be available upon release. The ability to project virtual 3D screens with spatial audio could make traditional TVs and movie theaters obsolete.

Although the Vision Pro's price is high, Apple has a history of launching high-end products before making them accessible to mass consumers.

Apple is expected to address issues such as size, weight, and comfort that have plagued VR headsets, leveraging its track record of functional miniaturization.

While the initial version may have limitations, Apple's previous successes with the Macintosh and iPhone indicate that the Vision Pro has the potential to revolutionize computing.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, believes the Apple Vision Pro will have a magnitude of capabilities, surpassing those of Macs and iPhones, making science fiction scenarios of ubiquitous computing a reality.

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Apple Vision Pro Features

  • Apple's latest announcement brings forth a remarkable computing device rather than just a headset, offering a standalone experience without the need for tethering to a computer or smartphone.

While entry-level Apple computers start around $1,000 and can go up to nearly $7,000, the $3,500 price point for the new device falls in the midtier range, exceeding the average selling price but below that of a full-fledged computer. This pricing strategy aligns with consumer expectations for accessory purchases.

  • A notable aspect of Apple's approach is its intuitive and familiar interface, which eliminates the need for complex handheld controls found in many extended reality (XR) systems. Instead, Apple leverages simple gestures that build upon the popular tactics used with its touchscreens.

By incorporating eye-tracking, flicks, and pinching gestures, users can easily select, scroll, and zoom on icons or media on the virtual screen, all without the requirement of additional devices like smartwatches.

  • Addressing privacy concerns head-on, Apple assures consumers that their eye movements will not be recorded. The company employs an Optic ID for user authentication, encrypting and storing the data solely on the device.

Eye-tracking serves not only for content optimization and navigation but also avoids potential data collection by companies for advertising purposes. Unless users choose to share the data, it remains securely stored on the device.

  • Leveraging the vast Apple TV plus app ecosystem, Vision Pro offers a broad range of utility right from the start. Demonstrating its capabilities in media consumption, including photos and Apple TV content, Apple aims to overcome the limited use cases typically associated with VR.

While gaming, education, fitness, and social media remain popular use cases, Vision Pro enables users to tap into their existing media and app libraries, expanding the possibilities for diverse experiences.

  • Comfort is a key consideration in Apple's design approach. Recognizing the discomfort associated with wearing virtual reality headsets for extended periods, the company emphasizes the importance of a lightweight and comfortable experience. Although the headset's weight remains undisclosed, Apple highlights the use of a knit band akin to lightweight athletic sneakers, along with advanced chip technology to minimize latency between sensors and the display, contributing to overall comfort.

  • Breaking down the barrier between headset wearers and their surroundings, Apple introduces a unique feature where the headset's face screen can mirror the eye movements of the wearer in augmented reality mode. This allows for interactive engagement with people nearby.

In virtual reality mode, the screen shifts to a light, indicating that the wearer is focused on the virtual environment, enhancing the sense of privacy. While not yet technically feasible to achieve complete transparency, this innovation brings users closer to a more natural social interaction experience.

  • Apple strategically focuses on easier use cases to drive initial adoption. Understanding consumer behavior, the company prioritizes media consumption, communication, shopping, and control. During the unveiling, Apple showcased various media-related activities such as movies, photos, music, gaming, and TV.

Additionally, there were demonstrations of communication, collaboration, and productivity applications, including Microsoft's suite of tools. Although these productivity use cases may require more collaboration and adjustment, Apple recognizes the importance of gradually expanding the device's capabilities beyond entertainment.

Furthermore, with the absence of a specific enterprise-first approach, Apple acknowledges that XR devices have yet to significantly impact most people's work routines, aligning with the current market landscape.

The Work Life Revolution: How Spatial Computing Will Change Everything

Apple Vision Pro, with its applications of spatial computing, serves as a compelling example of the growing demand for extended reality. This revolutionary device combines cutting-edge hardware and software technologies to deliver immersive augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.

With its advanced sensors and machine learning capabilities, Apple Vision Pro possesses an extraordinary ability to comprehend and interact with the physical world in unprecedented ways, opening up a multitude of opportunities for innovative applications of spatial computing across various industries and use cases.

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1. Employee Training

One area profoundly impacted by the implementation of spatial computing software is employee training. Industries such as energy stand to benefit greatly from this technology, as it enables the training of workers in computer-generated 3D environments that closely resemble real workplaces and scenarios.

2. Diagnosis and Planning

Spatial computing also finds diverse applications in the healthcare sector. With the pressing need for improved diagnosis and minimal physical contact amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, systems like the University of Alberta's ProjectDR are poised to make a significant difference.

By displaying CT scans and MRI data directly on a patient's body, this innovative tool enhances medical procedures and provides real-time feedback to doctors.

Beyond diagnostics, spatial computing technology can aid in pre-planning procedures, optimizing efficiency before they even take place.

3. Transforming Collaboration and Communication

Spatial computing proves instrumental in enhancing support and fostering seamless collaboration across organizations.

Geographical constraints become inconsequential as video streams merge and augmented reality facilitates the sharing of essential information.

This breakthrough technology empowers individuals to communicate effectively with peers and customers located in different parts of the world.

4. Interactivity and Decision-Making in 3D

Spatial computing's ability to create interactive 3D models streamlines workflows and aids in decision-making processes.

Professionals in industries such as architecture, engineering, and healthcare can manipulate these models within a virtual workspace, enabling visualizations of complex datasets or structures with ease.

5. Training and Skill Development

Spatial computing's capacity to simulate real-world scenarios positions it as an invaluable tool for training and skill development. From intricate surgical procedures to high-risk military drills, the ability to create and control immersive environments significantly enhances learning outcomes.

Read more: Tech Check - Tyles: Navigating the Knowledge Maze

World Beyond Fiction

This transformative evolution signifies the convergence of the virtual and real worlds, reshaping our understanding of human-machine interactions for the better.

As spatial computing continues to advance, incorporating technologies like autonomous vehicles and spatial sensing (LiDAR), its widespread adoption in manufacturing and other sectors is inevitable.

Established companies with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and AR technology advancements will find spatial computing to be a logical and transformative next step in their digital transformation journey, heralding an era of limitless applications, expertise, and opportunities in this domain.

Whether you need to develop cutting-edge AR applications, build interactive virtual environments, or create intuitive user interfaces for spatial computing devices, Remotebase’s developers have the skills to bring your vision to life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Apple Vision Pro and how does it contribute to spatial computing?

Apple Vision Pro is a groundbreaking device that brings spatial computing to the mainstream. It combines advanced hardware and software technologies to deliver immersive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. By leveraging cutting-edge sensors and machine learning capabilities, Apple Vision Pro enables users to interact with the physical world in unprecedented ways, opening up new possibilities and applications in spatial computing.

How does Apple Vision Pro bridge the gap between science fiction and reality?

Apple Vision Pro represents the convergence of science fiction concepts and real-world technology. By combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), it transforms the way we perceive and interact with digital devices. Through its innovative features and capabilities, Apple Vision Pro blurs the lines between the virtual and physical worlds, turning futuristic ideas into tangible experiences.

What impact does Apple Vision Pro have on the digital transformation landscape?

Apple Vision Pro plays a significant role in accelerating digital transformation efforts for forward-thinking enterprises. Its contribution to spatial computing enhances various industries, from employee training and healthcare to collaboration and communication. By enabling immersive experiences and revolutionizing workflows, Apple Vision Pro drives innovation, improves efficiency, and expands the possibilities for organizations embracing the power of spatial computing in their digital transformation journey.

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