Once again, the words on everyone’s lips this year are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, but more and more often the term ‘Mixed Reality’ is being used to describe technologies that combine the best of the two. Essentially, MR brings elements of virtual experiences into the real world. And the coolest part? You and others can interact with them. This is why, although it is somewhat lower key in the consumer technology world, Mixed Reality is hitting the spot for so many businesses.
The idea of Mixed Reality has been capturing imaginations for long time. After all, who hasn’t seen a science fiction movie where the characters swipe a hand to manifest a virtual dashboard or make the schematics for an enemy spaceship appear out of nowhere? Canon’s own explorations into Mixed Reality began over a quarter of a century ago, with the first prototypes heading out for live testing in manufacturing settings in 2007. The live feedback from this first iteration of Canon’s Mixed Reality System was the foundation for the MREAL technology that was enjoyed by visitors to CES 2023 in a gamified experience of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, Knock at the Cabin. They had fun barricading themselves against intruders using virtual furniture and other objects.
In classic sci-fi we would see these elements materialise out of thin air, whereas the reality today is that they are viewed through a headset. The sci-fi vision, however, is otherwise pretty accurate and the ability to bring computer generated objects into the real world is truly awesome. It’s creating exciting new ways to experience and interact with familiar information and environments: training and learning, product design and prototyping, construction, even real estate and other kinds of sales.
But that’s only half of the story. Yes, the purpose of Canon’s MREAL X1 Mixed Reality System is to bring enterprises the new efficiency that immersive promises (especially as we stare down the barrel of the metaverse). But technology magic happens in the details – through the smaller touches that make us want to keep using it.