What are the future physical product opportunities of VR?
An Evolving Virtual Landscape
Earlier this year, we introduced you to Hatch Duo Design’s Meta Studio. The Metaverse is a collective, virtually shared space created by virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet.
Although some people may disagree, we believe the Metaverse is here to stay. It is becoming increasingly common for the hardware and technology industries to invest in virtual and augmented reality technologies to provide customers with novel experiences. Google and Apple are even in the process of developing their own VR hardware, giving Meta a run for its money.
How might the Metaverse evolve in the future? What impact will the Metaverse have on physical spaces? And, most importantly, how will it shape our daily lives?
Considering the Metaverse’s infinite possibilities, we anticipate it will become an integral part of our daily lives within a short five to ten years. That the future of the Metaverse lies in merging it with reality. How could these interactions be made more seamless? Will we need a separate technology that will allow us to interact with digital objects in the real world and vice versa?
It’s hard to predict exactly what will happen until we reach that point—it could be a complete disruption of culture, or it could just be the next step in humankind’s evolution. But whatever happens, we believe the Metaverse will open many new opportunities and redefine people’s daily routines and interactions.
To start answering some of the “what ifs” of the future VR landscape, we designed a concept project called XOver. XOover consists of the Portal mirror and the NFT Bubble, which seamlessly integrates physical and virtual realities, allowing us to exist in both worlds simultaneously.
A Bridge Between Worlds
Visualize a portal linking your physical and metaphysical worlds. What would a day in this life look like?
We designed Portal so that future VR to IRL experiences can be seamless. By bringing something physical into the home you’re giving that something a physical identity- a bridge to the virtual and physical worlds. Where the headset is a component that helps with visual and auditory senses, having a physical product literally immerses you further into that world and makes it much more of an experience as a whole. Portal gives you multiple access and touch points that bridge you further into virtual reality.
Imagine waking up and moving through your typical morning routine. You head to your central hub that houses the Portal; rather than seeing your reflection, you see your avatar. As you pull your VR headset down over your eyes, your view of the world around you smoothly transitions—you are now standing in the digital incarnation of your living room looking at a live video feed of your real-world self looking back at you through the portal. You feel the sensation of swapping places with your avatar. A seamless transition of two worlds, merged together by a high tech mirror that lives in your home.
Any physical objects in your real-life room would be mapped out and represented in your virtual homeroom. This will allow you to move around freely with your VR headset and not worry about bumping into your surroundings. As you turn away from the Portal, you see your Peloton. Upon climbing onto the Peloton, the entire scene evaporates, and everything around you changes: you are now on a mountain trail, cycling with friends from around the world, fully immersed in a virtual world from the comfort of your own home.
Let’s use the virtual shopping area as a more detailed example. When you find your physical self in that designated area, your virtual world allows you to select a store to go to. Stores like Nike, Adidas, or Gucci, which have already made their marks in the virtual space, are accessible to buy fits for your avatar or place a delivery order for yourself.
Ultimately, you may end up stopping by the pet store and purchasing an NFT pet to keep you company; nice and low-maintenance, much easier to take care of than a Tamagotchi keyring pet. You take your new best friend to the virtual lounge to sit on your physical couch, watch the scene transform into a Bavarian Biergarten, and play with them while you have drinks with actual friends joining you from the comfort of their own homes.
Digital Tokens In the Physical World
The more we spend time in the Metaverse, the more likely we will develop a personal connection with what we are creating. We envision wanting to hold on to those connections or having a way to integrate our personal and virtual lives: this is where our idea of a personalized NFT Bubble comes into play.
With the Bubble, you can keep your most “prized Metaverse possessions” in your physical room. It may be a version of your avatar, the latest sneaker you copped, the trendiest NFT you invested in, or even your NFT pet running around. With 3D display’s rapid design and tech development, we will soon be able to see more than just the flat images on our computer and phone screens. We can keep 3-dimensional objects in this little compartment and even interact with them via hand and motion tracking. Spin it, show it off, or play with and feed it. Your pet will be so happy to see you the next time you step through that Portal!
Thinking even further into the future, we may be able to have NFT displays that evoke and engage more than just our visual senses. Imagine being able to purchase something that reminds you of home or a cultural tradition- perhaps it’s your favorite dish that your grandmother would cook for you when you were sick or a holiday meal that you only had once a year. What if you could smell the delicious aromas of the food, hear the song your grandmother would hum as she was in the kitchen, or hear the background gossip of your aunts and uncles?
The future of the Metaverse holds many exciting possibilities for those who explore it. With the advent of technologies that merge the physical and digital worlds, we can only imagine the unique possibilities that may be available to us. While the Metaverse is still in its infancy, designers must explore these possibilities and envision a future where our physical and digital lives may inevitably intertwine.
The XOver concept project is an ambitious and exciting venture that has the potential to change the way we interact with the physical world and digital spaces. This new technology will allow us to truly experience digital life as our own, which has been one of the most intriguing things about this project. By making physical and digital interactions more seamless, we can create a more immersive and engaging experience for all.