The metaverse, around which everything currently revolves, requires nothing less than a hardware revolution. At least, that’s the opinion of some engineers at Meta Labs ex Facebook. They believe that a breakthrough in physics is necessary, to technically achieve the high requirements.
In fact, the slowdown of Moore’s Law will soon have a negative impact. At least for a metaverse based on silicon chips. Why the greed for more performance can no longer be served adequately in economic terms, I show in previous articles (here and here).
But perhaps a completely different metaverse hardware basis can be found. More about that later.
Already today, some puzzle pieces exist that allow a glimpse into the near future of the metaverse.
Well known is the usual access to virtual reality, which is today via a suitable headset. Furthermore, you need controllers for movements and spatial location.
Virtual Reality is often seen as a very static thing. Nevertheless, Mark Zuckerberg once said that the biggest challenge of our times is to fit a supercomputer into the frame of a normal glass.
This implies the goal of rather enriching or melting our normal lives with the digital world. This is what by the way Google calls Ubiquitous Computing or Microsoft Mixed Reality.
Even today, we are already seeing fantastic technology like Apple’s Object Detection. The Lidar sensors recently installed in the iPhone scan the environment up to 500 million times. Per second. This allows environments and objects to be digitized on-the-fly as 3D objects with millimeter precision.
Or Epic, which back in 2020 showed how an avatar perfectly cloned an employee’s facial expressions in real time – onto a completely different face.
Another newer approach was recently introduced by Meta Labs with its haptic glove. This sophisticated technical innovation from the field of soft robotics is designed to make the metaverse tangible for users.
But all of this is going down the silicon path, which could soon turn out to be a dead end.
This unpleasant sight aside and with some distance, our attempt to merge the virtual with our reality is quite cumbersome.
If you know the long way from bits & bytes shifted back and forth in registers to a 4k UHD stream of your favorite series, you know what I mean. The technology behind the display on a modern device alone almost borders on rocket science.
And VR needs even more tricks like stereo display, filters etc.
But isn´t it possible that there is a more direct way?
Well, the Pentagon expects that we can technically read minds within four decades. How big is the step from reading to writing?
Could we project arbitrary image sequences directly into our brain?
What will Elon Musk’s Brain-Computer-Interface be capable of within three decades? The biotech front definitely needs a breakthrough.
Last but not least, which possible role will quantum computers play in this context? Will they be there when Moore ‘s Law dies?
Imagine a world with quantum supercomputers worlds superior to anything we know today.
These could create a digital twin of anything and everything down to the atomic level in real time.
In this world, we would no longer be talking about the merging of the virtual and digital. They would be inseparably one.
The near Term
Of course, this is all pie in the sky, and the further into the future you look, the more embarrassing predictions become in retrospect.
Nevertheless, I believe that the entire sophistication and technical excellence of our species will be required in the next few years. Hardware must find answers to serve hardware-hungry megatrends such as AI, IoT, and finally, the metaverse.
I hope we will be able to sustain the exponential growth of a Moore’s Law one way or another.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to let me know here in the comments or on Twitter.
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Image Source: Pixabay, Pixabay License