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What is the Metaverse and Spatial Mapping?

By Nextech3D.ai on May 8, 2023 12:00:00 PM


13 min read
What is the Metaverse and Spatial Mapping
Topics:  metaverse ARway

There have been rumblings of the metaverse for some time but it’s finally broken into the public space as one of the hottest and most popular topics. This is in part thanks to the recent rebranding of Facebook to Meta as the company strives to deliver the space the metaverse needs for entertainment, socializing, and work productivity.  

But what exactly is the metaverse? A survey conducted by Insider Intelligence to dissect the attitudes toward the metaverse among U.S. internet users found that while 23% expressed the desire to explore the metaverse, nearly a third of survey respondents still don’t understand what the metaverse is, showcasing the need for a simple way to enter and participate in this new space. In this blog, we discuss the benefits and challenges of these emerging technologies, and share tips on how to prepare for and enter the metaverse. 

Firstly, what is the Metaverse?

We can’t necessarily point to one piece of technology and say “this is the metaverse;” rather, it’s more a shift in how we’re interacting with technology overall. Platforms and interactive mediums are evolving from mobile to AR/VR and video to 3D content in inherently spatial and immersive spaces. It’s the evolution of the internet in how we share information from text to immersive 3D content and how we perceive information from static displays to head mounted displays in mixed reality. 

The metaverse is not a new concept, having first been introduced in Neal Stephenson's novel "Snow Crash" in 1992. Essentially, it refers to a collective shared space that is entirely online, where users can interact with each other in a fully immersive and interactive environment. The metaverse can be accessed through various platforms, such as virtual reality headsets, web browsers, or mobile apps. Characteristics of the metaverse include a persistent and evolving world, an economy based on virtual currency, and the ability to create and customize one's avatar. Examples of existing metaverse platforms include Second Life, Decentraland, and VRChat. 

Next, let’s understand what is Spatial Mapping?

Spatial Mapping is the ability to create a 3D dynamic map of the environment and what makes these spaces so immersive. It allows a device to understand a location and interact with the real world, meaning spatial maps will be an essential layer that most of metaverse applications will rely on and use for spatial networking.  

Techniques used for spatial mapping include liDAR, photogrammetry and depth sensors. This technology has been used in various applications, such as creating digital maps for autonomous vehicles, providing indoor navigation, and creating 3D models of real-world environments. In the context of the metaverse, spatial mapping becomes an essential component, as it enables the creation of a virtual world that mirrors the real world accurately. By mapping the physical world in detail, it's possible to create a metaverse that provides users with a fully immersive experience that closely resembles the real world. 

spatial mapping visual

How Does Spatial Mapping Fit into the Metaverse?

Spatial mapping is used in the metaverse to create a virtual representation of a real-world environment, allowing users to interact with it in real-time. It allows for the accurate placement of virtual objects and enables virtual avatars to interact with the environment realistically.  

Simply put, every device in the metaverse needs to understand the context of location, such as where currently the device is, how nearby things look, what objects are around a device with meaning (tables, chairs, windows, roads etc.) Ultimately, spatial mapping helps in understanding the context of situations for a device. Without spatial mapping, there’s no possibility of immersive environments to dive into. 

Why is Metaverse and Spatial Mapping Important?

The world is an ever-changing place and the amount and variety of data generated over the internet is ever growing. The metaverse gives us an opportunity to bring computing to the next level by utilizing immersive content and bringing spatial computing and blockchain to the center of it.  

Metaverse and spatial mapping are two powerful technologies that are already starting to impact our lives in various ways. Understanding these concepts and their potential for the future is essential, as they have the potential to change the way we interact with each other and the world around us. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting developments in the metaverse and spatial mapping, opening up new possibilities for entertainment, education and collaboration.  

The future of the metaverse and spatial mapping is exciting, with many predictions for how these technologies will evolve and impact society. Some predictions include the integration of augmented reality into the metaverse, the use of blockchain technology for virtual economies, and the potential for creating a fully decentralized metaverse. Spatial mapping could be used to create virtual tourism experiences, enable remote collaboration and education, and create new opportunities for entertainment and social interaction. 

How to Enter the Metaverse?

Entering the metaverse is not yet a straightforward process, as it is still a nascent concept that is being developed by various companies and organizations. However, there are a few ways for one to start exploring the metaverse and prepare for its future development. 
 
The most common thought when exploring ways to enter the metaverse is undoubtedly through a VR or AR headset. The Oculus headset dominates the game with over 10 million units shipped, with other options being Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC Valve’s Index VR. However, some barriers do exist when entering the metaverse with these types of headsets.  Some consumers simply aren’t interested in headsets. Other complaints are that it’s quite pricey and uncomfortable, especially for those with glasses. And how long can you truly expect someone to strap on a piece of VR gear and carry that weight? So, we can see that price and ease of use is a potential problem when looking into hardware that encourages consumers to enter and engage in the metaverse.  
 
Besides, there are online communities and forums dedicated to discussing and exploring the metaverse. Joining these communities can help you stay up to date on the latest developments and connect with other enthusiasts who are interested in the same topics. As the metaverse continues to evolve, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with each other and with digital content, and those who are early adopters will be well positioned to take advantage of its many benefits. 

VR glasses

Challenges of the Metaverse and Spatial Mapping

As with any emerging technology, the metaverse and spatial mapping come with a number of challenges that will need to be addressed in order to fully realize their potential. Some of the main challenges include: 

  • Technical complexity: Developing the metaverse and spatial mapping requires a high degree of technical expertise and resources. Creating immersive virtual environments and 3D maps of real-world spaces is a complex process that requires advanced software and hardware. This can make it difficult for smaller companies or individuals to enter the space, and may result in a lack of diversity and innovation.
  • Cost: As mentioned earlier, investing in the hardware necessary to fully experience the metaverse can be expensive. Similarly, developing the infrastructure and technology required to create a fully realized metaverse and accurate spatial maps is also costly. This may limit the accessibility of the metaverse and spatial mapping to those who can afford it.
  • Data privacy: As with any digital platform, there are concerns around data privacy and ownership in the metaverse and spatial mapping. Users may generate large amounts of personal data as they move through virtual environments or use spatial maps to navigate the real world. Ensuring that this data is protected and used ethically will be essential for building trust with users. 

Overall, the challenges of the metaverse and spatial mapping are significant, but they are not insurmountable. By working together to address these challenges and ensure that the metaverse and spatial mapping are accessible, safe, and equitable, we can create a virtual world that benefits everyone.

spatial mapping of a desk

ARway.ai - How Anyone Can Join the Metaverse

ARway.ai is a mobile app, all-in-one no code real-world Metaverse creation tool, with self-generating augmented reality (AR) mapping solutions for consumers and brands alike. It gives its users the ability to create a spatial map of a physical environment and populate it with immersive 3D content i.e., essentially giving users the ability to create their own metaverse and share it with other users. Rather than needing equipment, this app allows users instant access to the metaverse.

How Does ARway.ai Work?

ARway.ai divides a map into the following multiple layers:  

  • Content layer – All 3D contents like (models, spatial audio, navigation etc.) and their associated transform.  
  • Location layer – Feature point representation of physical space which helps devices to identify accurate initial location in a map. 
  • Semantic layer - This layer holds the real object context information of environments.

What Content Can One Add to the Metaverse? 

With ARway.ai, you can add any of the following to your personal metaverse:  

  • Text messages: Quickly communicate location specific details by displaying messages in AR  
  • Audio: Record audio or upload from your device. You can select audio to play on tap or by coming close to it in the location.  
  • 3D objects: Add objects from the library or upload your own!  
  • Notes: Need a sticky note for extra information? We’ve got you covered!  
  • Images: Upload from your camera roll and place directly into your map.  
  • Navigation: Drag and drop points of interest and help guide your audience via AR navigation. 

Moreover, its easy-to-use mapping techniques support a wide variety of phones and enables a large number of users to get into the metaverse. Want to get started building your own metaverse? Get in touch with us here. 

About Nextech3D.ai 

Nextech3D.ai is the engine accelerating the growth of the Metaverse. Using breakthrough AI, Nextech3D.ai is able to quickly, easily and affordably ARitize (transform) vast quantities and varieties of existing assets at scale making products, people and places ready for interactive 3D use, giving creators at every level all the essential tools they need to build out their digital AR vision in the Metaverse. Our platform agnostic tools allow brands, educators, students, manufacturers, creators, and technologists to create immersive, interactive and the most photo-realistic 3D assets and digital environments, compose AR experiences, and publish them omnichannel. With a full suite of end-to-end AR solutions in 3D Commerce, Education, Events, and Industrial Manufacturing, Nextech3D.ai is in a unique position to meet the needs of the world’s biggest brands and all Metaverse contributors. 

Nextech3D.ai

Written by Nextech3D.ai