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What is the Metaverse?

Defining an immersive internet, how to experience it, and predicting how it can help us heal.

Written by Sarah Hill
January 26th, 2022

The definition of the term Metaverse is in the stereoscopic eyes of the beholder. In our shop, “Meta” is a town in Missouri of just 180 people. It’s less than an hour from our studio.

 

Meta is also the new brand name for Facebook’s VR and AR products that will one day live in the Metaverse with an unlimited population. In short, our company Healium defines the metaverse as an immersive internet where we’ll be able to live, work, play and heal with others.

 

But let’s be clear. In the words of Unity’s Tony Parisi, the metaverse isn’t built yet. The book “Ready Player One” which romanticized the metaverse was set in the year 2045. We have the scaffolding of an immersive internet but still lack mass adoption to reach these spaces that will make the Metaverse a ubiquitous place to live, work, and play. 

 

Facts can sometimes morph into a legend when the truth has been exaggerated to the point that products or concepts have taken on a romanticized, “larger than life” quality.

 

Even so, the metaverse may be closer than we think. These are some of the building blocks of the immersive internet that can give you a taste of a future world that is meta. The world is no longer flat. It’s already become a place you can step into singularly at first and now collectively with other people. 

To me my definition of the metaverse goes beyond VR and also includes immersive places you can step into via portals just on your mobile device.

 

How Do You Join the Metaverse?

If you’d like to experience a taste of the Metaverse, here are some stops I’d encourage you to make. I may just meet you there. 

1. Spatial: 

Spatial is an interactive immersive space for events where your real face is embodied on 3D avatars. I once hosted a 3D broadcast in Spatial and appreciated it’s easy to use user interface and access to assets that allowed my guests to discover how spatial computing feels. 

 

2. AltSpace:

A multi-user virtual world by Microsoft, Alt Space was one of the early pioneers of VR multi-user experiences. Whether it’s flying in VR, or making s’mores around a virtual fire, I’ll never forget the moment I tasted a 3D marshmallow 

 

3. Tetavi:

Tetavi’s Affordable and portable volumetric video capture technology creates high fidelity holograms that deliver immersive viewer experiences on any device. 

 

4. Foretell Reality:

Foretell Reality is building a metaverse for therapy and human interactions. Group therapy and collaborative educational sessions happen here. It is reducing the physical space between people. 

 

5. Healium

Healium is also one future “channel” in the metaverse which connects biometric data from consumer wearables to immersive stories to teach people to learn how to self-regulate their brain patterns and heart rate. Singular Healium experiences will transition to allow people to pool their own (anonymized & aggregated) biometric data to collectively change 3D assets. 

 

Five Predictions for the Future of the Metaverse

In the metaverse, you can go to school, try on virtual clothes, chat with your therapist who’s taken the form of a teddy bear,  and even walk your virtual pets in the “petaverse”. It will also have greatly inflated expectations. 

 

1. It will be overhyped.

In the Gartner hype cycle, we are headed up the peak of inflated expectations for the metaverse. VR companies are hyper familiar with what could happen next. VR experienced its own dip into a “trough of disillusionment” with the “VR Winter” in 2017.

 

2. The metaverse will reduce the physical space between us.

Someone in San Francisco can already shake the virtual hand or play Beat Saber with someone from Meta, MO. Transacting in the metaverse will further shrink the world.

 

3. The metaverse will funnel more technology and VC funding to places like the Silicon Prairie.

As momentum continues to build in this sector, investors will look to places where their investment dollars go further and the cost of goods is low. 

 

4.  It will raise ethical questions like we’ve never experienced before.

Moral dilemmas will arise about who can access your data when worlds appear seamless, one flowing into the other. Well worth listening to Kent Bye’s XR Ethics Manifesto.

 

5. It will contribute to mental fitness. 

The rise of immersive digital therapeutics and digiceuticals combined with the rise of 5G and consumer wearables will enable people to better learn to self-heal as an important first step. 

 

What are your predictions for the future of the metaverse?  If your travels bring you to the virtual Meta or the real world town near our studio, be sure to stop by and say hello. 

About the Author

Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill is the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically-powered VR/AR immersive media channel controlled by the user's brainwaves and heart rate via consumer wearables.

Learn more about her here.

Written by Sarah Hill
January 26th, 2022
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