Spatial Computing is touted to be the next form of evolution in the computing landscape post Desktops, Laptops & Smartphones. It is one of the most discussed topics in the computing world.
The term Spatial Computing was defined by MIT Media Lab alumni Simon Greenwold in his futuristic thesis in 2003. In his thesis, he described Spatial Computing as the human interaction with a machine in which the machine retains and manipulates referents to real objects and spaces . He described this as an essential component in making our machines complete partners in our work and play.
Even though, his thesis was published in 2003 close to couple of decades now, we werent able to produce any meaningful outcome until a couple of years. This phenomenon was largely due to the complementary technological counterparts present in making Spatial Computing mainstream. Even then, this has been primarily adopted only in some of the leading Manufacturing Houses & Industries across the Globe. It could be another good 3 - 5 years before they become mainstream in the consumer segment.
In simpler terms, Spatial Computing can be utilized and occur in two scenarios, it lets us make use of the actual physical space or transports us to a virtual environment without any visual contact with the physical world. In both the cases, the primary factor is the Users ability to interact directly with the computing objects and make use of them to their benefit. Sometimes this situation can prevail in a third scenario which combines both the abilities of scenario 1 & 2 as well.
Spatial Computing forms the greater umbrella of its computing beings like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) & Mixed Reality (MR). Thanks to Covid, most of these terminologies & technological factors are familiar to almost all of us.
In the interest of those who havent caught up with this frenzy, a quick note on these technologies.
Virtual Reality (VR) - Virtual Reality lets the users transport to an artificially created computing world through the Virtual Reality Headsets & Glasses, wherein it will block any visual contact with the physical world. This helps the users gain an immersive experience of being there in that virtual world.
Augmented Reality (AR) - Unlike VR, Augmented reality doesnt block the visual contact with the physical world, but lets the users super impose artificially created computer objects through their smartphone cameras or Augmented Reality Glasses.
Mixed Reality (MR) - Mixed Reality is a hybrid of both the models and is a mixture of physical and digital world. It can simultaneously work on both the virtual and physical world, helping the users unlock natural human, computer and virtual environment interactions.
Apart from these primaries, there are other components and complementary technological aspects which paves way for the mainstream adoption of Spatial Computing.
One other important factors in making Spatial Computing a consumer mainstream is the advancement in Spatial Audio or 3D Audio. We will discuss more on Spatial Audio in our forthcoming editions.
Spatial Computing has already made its in roads significantly in the Enterprise Segment of our world. There are a lot of Fortune 500 companies, Multi Billion Tech Giants, Manufacturing Behemoths & Industrial Tycoons making use of Spatial Computing. As a matter of fact, the Business to Business end of the world is whats driving the Spatial Computing and its technological subsidiaries.
Some real life use case implementations of this technology are listed below:
The above discussion is with respect to whats happening in spatial computing right now. We will discuss more on the drivers to adoption and the future of spatial computing in our next edition.