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From Pixels to Possibilities: Is the Metaverse the Gateway to a New Era of Human Experience?

By: Laiba Sarwar 

“Under the guidance of Prof. Ayesha Aziz, COMSATS University Islamabad, Lahore Campus showcased the talents of students Laiba Sarwar, Ifra Adeel, Haseeb Alam, and Saira Shabir in a captivating display of academic excellence.”

Imagine a universe where you can roam the streets of ancient civilizations, traverse the surface of distant planets, or soar through the skies alongside mythical creatures – all from the comfort of your own home. Picture a world where you can connect with friends and strangers alike, forging friendships and alliances that span continents and cultures. This is the promise of the metaverse – a playground for the mind, a canvas for creativity, and a stage for the human experience to unfold in ways previously unimaginable.

Metaverse: Elevating Life Beyond Imagination!”

“Have you ever dreamed of soaring through space, only to dismiss it as impossible? Let metaverse transport you to the realm of your desires—play Skyrim VR and embark on an epic adventure where the impossible becomes your reality.”

The brief history of metaverse dates to the previous century when the name was introduced into the lexicon, albeit in a fictional setting.

 Author Neal Stephenson coined the word “metaverse” in his 1992 dystopian sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” to describe a virtualized environment where people gained status based in part on the technical skill of their avatars. [1]

Metaverse is a technology in which the users can immerse themselves in a virtual world, where the imagination meets reality. Hence, in this scope the user is boundless and can indulge in live experiences. In simpler terms, it is a vast, interconnected virtual universe where people can interact with each other and digital entities in real time. However, is entirely based on the concept of “Avatar; a virtual incarnation of human form.”  People can use these avatars to show their presence virtually, whether it be at official meetings, presentation of your ideas, meeting your family while living miles away, or even putting your hands into a complicated surgery- all by virtual and 3D connectivity.

In this regard, Matthew Ball, a prominent Metaverse thinker and venture capitalist, has formulated the best definition of the Metaverse. His definition is roughly:

 “the Metaverse is a collection of 3D virtual worlds that are interoperable and massively scaled, have high concurrency, are synchronous and persistent, and render in real-time”.

“VR: The Next Frontier. Are You Ready to Discover Your Self in a World More Real Than Reality?”

 Welcome to the future, where the line between what is real and what’s virtual blurs into a mesmerizing adventure awaiting your every move.

Virtual Reality (VR) is not just a technology; “it’s a portal to infinite possibilities.” It is a revolution that is reshaping how we play, learn, and interact. This technology uses a headset and offers astounding experiences, VR enables its users to think beyond creativity and see it happening in front of their eyes. You can go through the exciting journey of space, get a moon walk, or dive into human anatomy and can even watch a human heart, pulsating right before your eyes-Well this is the bewildering future, that meta promises.

VR empowers to build virtual social spaces, users could gather in virtual environments designed specifically for social interaction, such as virtual cafes, clubs, or lounge. Social media platforms within the metaverse could host virtual events and gatherings, such as concerts, conferences, parties, and even host weddings where users from around the world can attend and interact with each other in immersive virtual environments.

“Embark on an odyssey through the realm where the tangible and digital converge: Mixed Reality is there for you.”

Mixed reality technology enables the seamless integration of virtual and physical environments, offering new possibilities for education, training, design, and collaboration across a wide range of industries. Its applications continue to evolve, with ongoing advancements in hardware and software driving its adoption in various sectors.

One specific example of mixed reality application is Microsoft’s HoloLens, a wearable MR headset that overlays holographic images onto the user’s view of the real world. HoloLens has been used in various industries, including manufacturing, engineering, and healthcare, to create interactive experiences as well as to visualize complex data. NASA has indeed used Microsoft HoloLens technology in various applications related to space exploration and astronaut training.

“METAVERSE: PARADIGM SHIFT OR FLEETING FAD”

Curious about the buzz surrounding the Metaverse and its tangible impacts? Let us delve into the facts together—where is this digital realm truly leaving its mark, and is it living up to the hype?

“MEDICINE MEETS VIRTUALITY”

In October 2017, Dr. Shafi Ahmed used HoloLens and Atheo’s software to connect with surgeons globally from his Royal London Hospital operating theatre. They shared medical data and collaborated on live surgeries using 3D models across three continents. [2]

-It is, thus, one of the evident applications.

“Imagination Unleashed -Enter the Next Dimension”, See the Unseen:

In this ever-evolving digital landscape, big tech companies harness the power of virtual reality platforms like AltspaceVR, Space Hub, and Virbela to revolutionize communication. Similarly, Meta, a company owned by Mark Zuckerberg, rebranded the social media platform; Facebook to Meta, and its vision is to emphasize Metaverse as the future computing technology. Meta has been investing heavily in building the foundational technologies for metaverse, including the development of VR hardware like the Oculus Rift and Quest headsets. As technology continues to evolve, the metaverse decides to reshape our reality.

Architects can use metaverse to develop immersive 3D models and hence consider the insights such as lightning, acoustics, and thermal performances in virtual environments. This enables them to create optimized designs to evaluate sustainability before construction begins.

From Fiction to Fortune: Why Meta’s Fantasy Realm Draws Global Investment

Nike unveils metaverse theme park, sells Nike Dunks Crypto cricks for $100,680, VR Park Dubai offers real-time Metaverse experience via Oculus headsets, Microsoft to launch Metaverse hardware shop. Businesses thrive in Metaverse; Atlantis Hotel offers VR previews, Hyundai launches immersive mobility adventure in which the buyer can change, customize, and even experience the 3D ride before making a purchase. Disney buys Meta world patent for future ventures.

“Embrace the Future You: Get Ready to Meet Tomorrow Today!”

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX companies, his influence on cryptocurrency and NFTs is undeniable, often affecting markets with his tweets and investments. His involvement in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and NFTs highlights his role in shaping the digital asset landscape. As Meta appears to be the next frontier, embracing its potential for innovation and connectivity is crucial. With the economy evolving and Meta leading the charge, now is the time to prepare for the future of the digital world.

As we stand on the threshold of this brave new world, the possibilities are as boundless as the human imagination itself. As we venture deeper into the metaverse, we must tread carefully. We must strive to build a metaverse that is inclusive, fair, and accessible to all, where diversity is celebrated, and differences embraced.

References

[1]L. Tucci, “TechTarget,” What is the metaverse? An explanation and in-depth guide, 22 mar 2024. [Online]. Available: https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/feature/The-metaverse-explained-Everything-you-need-to-know.
[2]P. S. Ahmed, “The Surgical Metaverse,” Medium, 28 Nov 2021. [Online]. Available: https://medium.com/@professorshafiahmed/the-surgical-metaverse-bd9d1b623158.

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