Yao Qian: The Metaverse Leading to the Future Stereoscopic Holographic Internet Space

Metaverse English name “Metaverse”. As early as the 1980s, in the science fiction novel “Real Names”, American computer professor Flovench conceived of a virtual world that can be entered through a brain-computer interface and has sensory experience, which is regarded as the concept of “Metaverse”. prototype. In 1992, the famous American cyberpunk sci-fi writer Neil Stephenson officially coined the term “Metaverse” in his work “Avalanche”. “Metaverse” consists of Meta and Verse, which means beyond the universe, that is, a virtual space that runs parallel to the real world. “Avalanche” described it vividly: “When entering the Metaverse…everyone’s avatar can be made into any shape they like, it depends on how high the configuration of your computer equipment is to support. Even if you just Get up, but your avatar can still be well-dressed and well-dressed. In the Metaverse, you can appear in any form: a gorilla, a fire-breathing dragon…”. Since then, many science fiction and sci-fi movies have told stories of people entering the virtual world through Avatar (digital doubles), such as “The Matrix”, “Sword Art Online”, “Ready Player One” and so on.

After the outbreak of the 2020 epidemic, due to social distancing, many of people’s activities were forced to go online, some through online video, while others were held in the online virtual scene of the game. For example, the University of California, Berkeley held a graduation ceremony in the sandbox game “Minecraft” (Minecraft), and graduates gathered on campus to participate in the graduation ceremony with virtual images; the famous American pop singer Travis Scott played in the game “Fortnite” (Fortnite) A virtual concert was held in 2019, attracting millions of game players around the world to watch; ACAI, the world’s top AI academic conference, held a seminar on the game “Animal Crossing Friends Club”, and the speaker played PPT in the game to give a speech, etc. These eye-catching activities further stimulated people’s imagination of the virtual world, making the concept of “Metaverse” popular again.

Yao Qian: The Metaverse Leading to the Future Stereoscopic Holographic Internet Space

At the beginning of 2021, the game company Roblox wrote the concept “Metaverse” into the prospectus, becoming the “first share of the Metaverse”. On the day of listing, the market value reached $38.3 billion. Immediately afterwards, some Internet giants began to join the concept craze of “Metaverse”. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that within five years Facebook will strive to bring the ultimate connected experience depicted in science fiction to the real world and become a “Metaverse company”. Ma Huateng, chairman of Tencent ‘s board of directors, proposed a concept highly similar to the Metaverse in Tencent’s internal publication “the era of the true Internet”, calling it “an exciting opportunity”.

Although the concept of the Metaverse appeared very early, it has so far not had a unified definition. Zuckerberg believes that “the primary purpose of the Metaverse is not to make people more involved in the Internet, but to make people participate in the Internet more naturally”. What is “natural”? Zuckerberg elaborated on VR technology as an example: “VR technology enables people to obtain various experiences that are difficult to achieve through two-dimensional applications or web pages, such as dancing, or different ways of exercising. In short, VR makes People feel more ‘present’ in the virtual world and can naturally and accurately simulate human behavior in the real world.” But “the Metaverse is not just VR. It’s accessible through all the different computing platforms: VR, AR, but also PC, mobile and consoles”. In his view, the Metaverse is a persistent, real-time, and unrestricted (multi-terminal) environment. He recommends “thinking of the Metaverse as a physical internet where you don’t just watch content, you’re there”. It can be seen that providing unprecedented interactivity and a high sense of immersion and participation is the biggest feature of the Metaverse that is different from the existing Internet. The Metaverse will make the virtual world and the real world, online and offline highly integrated. Ma Huateng believes: “The real Internet is a process from quantitative change to qualitative change, which means the integration of online and offline, the integration of physical and electronic methods. The door of the virtual world and the real world has been opened, whether it is from virtual to real or From the real to the virtual, we are all committed to helping users achieve a more realistic experience.”

Zuckerberg also believes that the Metaverse must be interoperable and portable: “You have your own avatar and virtual items that can be teleported anywhere, not stuck in one company’s product” “in In the future, hearing about a company developing its own Metaverse will be as ridiculous as hearing about a company developing its own internet.”Like the W3C World Wide Web Standard Protocol, the Metaverse needs to build a common protocol for every company to develop in a common and interoperable universe. This also shows that the Metaverse should meet the characteristics of open source technology and open source platform, otherwise it will not be able to achieve universality. On the basis of open source, users with different needs can create in the Metaverse, form a native virtual world, and continuously expand the margins of the Metaverse. Neil Rimer, co-founder of Roblox, a Metaverse concept stock, emphasized that “the energy of the Metaverse will come from users, not companies.” That is, the Metaverse is user-created content.

At the same time, many people in the industry also believe that if the Metaverse platform will not “suspend” or “end” and continue to run indefinitely, then in an ideal state, the Metaverse should be decentralized, so that it will not be affected by the participation of any party. or exit without affecting normal operation. Further, the Metaverse needs to have the technical characteristics of decentralization and avoid being monopolized by a few powers. It is operated in a decentralized manner by many different players, not owned by a single company. It is an autonomous decentralized organization (DAO, Decentralized Autonomous Organization). Last year’s hotly discussed blockchain game Axie Infinity(with a single-day revenue of nearly 20 million US dollars, more than twice the revenue of “Honor of Kings”, and currently the highest-grossing mobile game in the world) uses “decentralized” technology to run On the blockchain distributed network, players have full ownership of game accounts and assets, which is considered to be in line with the characteristics of the Metaverse, such as player-created content, decentralization, etc.

In order to realize the above-mentioned characteristics of the Metaverse, the support of various advanced technologies is required. One is virtual reality technology . Including immersive AR/VR terminal, brain-computer interface, tactile gloves, tactile tights and other advanced equipment, as well as Avatar, motion capture, gesture recognition, spatial perception, digital twin and other related technologies, to provide users with more realistic, more immersive, more A multi-sensory virtual reality experience. Just like the movie “Ready Player One”, players wear VR equipment on their heads and step on a movable base to enter the virtual world. In the virtual world, every action is exactly the same as the somatosensory action of a real person. In addition to sight and hearing, the tactile sensation felt by the player in the virtual world can even be transmitted to the person through the clothes of special materials.We can only transmit sight and hearing on the Internet today, but in the Metaverse, we can transmit a richer sensory experience, not only sight, hearing, but also touch, and even smell and taste. The second is 5G, edge computing, cloud computing, AI, image rendering and other technologies. To achieve the same “natural” and “real-time” interactive feeling as reality, advanced high-bandwidth network communication technology is required to enable various terminals to access the Metaverse anytime, anywhere and with extremely low latency. Through image rendering and AI technology, the real-time fidelity of users in the virtual world can be improved and the sense of distortion can be eliminated. Cloud computing can provide users with a large-scale interaction and sharing experience that is smooth, instant feedback, stable and persistent, and virtual sharing. The third is blockchain technology.Blockchain technology has created a “disorganized organizational power” based on computer algorithms – DAO, which is in line with the decentralization characteristics of the Metaverse. Building the huge decentralized system of the Metaverse requires advanced blockchain technology. The fourth is the chip. To support the operation of the huge Metaverse requires extremely strong computing power, and the foundation of computing power is the chip.

It should be said that the Metaverse is an extremely grand concept. It depicts an unprecedented three-dimensional Internet virtual space for us. But to actually achieve it, it is not easy. In fact, in the virtual reality (VR) boom in the past few years, “Metaverse” has been constantly mentioned, and it was translated as “Super Metaverse” in China at that time. Today, VR products have not yet reached the maturity level for widespread use. Some industry experts believe that VR must be below 20g in order to adapt to the degree of mobile phone use. This is determined by the structure of our human body, the upper limit of which the ears and bridge of the nose can withstand is 20g, such as glasses. If a VR headset weighs 100g or 200g, it can be very uncomfortable for people to wear it for more than 30 minutes. The current best VR product, the Quest 2, weighs 300g. In order to achieve below 20g, experts estimate that it will take 5 to 10 years, and at least the last two years have not seen a major technological breakthrough. In addition to weight, consider VR resolution. VR will only feel like it is in the real world when it reaches 16K resolution, but the current VR devices on the market support up to 4K resolution. There is also network communication. The Metaverse users depicted in the movie “Ready Player One” are hundreds of millions of users. If you want to realize such a Metaverse, 6G is not enough, it is estimated that 7G is required. Otherwise, once the device runs for too long and the world is too grand, there will be a visual screen window effect and a sense of vertigo. From 300g to 20g in weight, from 4K to 16K in resolution, and from 5G to 7G in network communication, it is not a simple addition or subtraction of numbers. It involves a comprehensive upgrade of chips, batteries, computing power, and basic networks, and even revolutionary changes.

True, the Metaverse remains an exciting dream. If it can be transformed from the current science fiction and science fiction movies into reality, it is bound to usher in a new era of human history . This is a developing frontier field that is being actively explored by all walks of life. The book “Top Ten Technologies of the Metaverse” comprehensively and in-depth discusses the technical characteristics, cutting-edge hotspots, scene applications and future trends of the Metaverse. It is believed that the publication of this book will be of great benefit to the academic community.

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