If the Metaverse is to gain acceptance, tech needs to catch up with it
If you’re able to, cast your mind back to eight months ago, when Facebook was in hot water and keen to distance itself away from the accusations of misinformation and hate speech that plagued the site rebranded to ‘Meta’ – step one of a much larger plan that would come to be focused on the Metaverse.
It should also be stated that the core principle of the Metaverse has been around for a lot longer than this most recent version, for instance, through previous entities such as Second Life. However, with the finances of Mark Zuckerberg behind it, this latest attempt at an AR/VR world, the Metaverse, has as good a chance as any to succeed.
Yet, fast forward to today and the average consumer and/or Facebook user is no wiser than they were back in 2021 about what the Metaverse is, what it plans to achieve or how you even access it. And that is the crux of its problem – accessibility.
The Metaverse in its purest form is an alternate reality that one should be able to step in or out of at will, without needing to find and switch on external glasses or headsets that you may not have with you. It requires a truly ubiquitous access method, one that you will always have with you, that you seldom worry about having to charge. This needs to be a bit of tech that you’re not going to notice you’re carrying around all day. The perfect conduit for this is contact lenses.
The use of hardware (glasses/headsets) prevents the metaverse from being accessed in high activity environments where they just aren’t feasible to wear, despite the best efforts of tech and optic brands working together to make this happen – such as Meta’s latest collaboration with RayBan’s. Strides are being made to improve the digital ‘smart’ contact lens, but as it stands the technology just isn’t there yet. This could be just one of the many reasons why the Metaverse continues to trundle down the runway and has yet to truly take flight.
In due time, the crossover between the metaverse and augmented reality will become normal and with it, the ability to seamlessly transition between augmented reality and real life. This instantaneous access to the metaverse is only truly valuable with an always-on device such as contact lenses. A simple example would be a map overlay to your lenses, showing metaverse locations of interest that are associated with items identified in your field of vision – you simply select the associated metaverse location and step in.
As it stands, the points of access for the Metaverse (headsets, smart glasses etc.) are, at best, works in progress towards a more simple method of interacting with the AR/VR. Once we start to see the emergence of technology, such as Smart Lens’s, that allows for a faultless connection between the digital and real. Until that technology finds its footing, the Metaverse is going to continue to struggle to gain the sort of traction that Zuckerberg and the team at Meta were hoping for last year.
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter