Press releases and extensive news coverage provoked some thinking about the Metaverse and its assorted technologies—Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), eXtended Reality (XR), and Mixed Reality (MR). It’s enough to distort in one’s mind just what is reality. Some psychologists and philosophers think there is no reality outside of what’s in your head. At this rate, they may be right. I even devoted a podcast to thoughts about this.
Mostly I’ve been exploring AR usually in the form of glasses that project the digital over the physical or VR usually in the form of an eye covering totally immersing you in the digital world. I’ve controlled machines while wearing glasses such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and seen training demos in VR. But VR can be on a flat panel, too. My wife the other day was holding her iPhone up and pointing at the walls of her “reading room.” She was visualizing a piece of furniture.
But I am here today to talk about constraints and overcoming them.
Dijam Panigrahi, COO and co-founder of GridRaster, talked with me the other day.
We started with constraints. Even AR requires a lot of compute power. And memory. And networking/communication bandwidth. Not to mention an electric power source. It’s hard to fit all that into an acceptable form factor. Rumors were that Apple was about to release its long awaited AR and VR products. The rumors pointed to the need for the wearer to have a battery pack clipped on their belt with a cable to the device. (For those who don’t wear pants with belts, well, I have no idea what you would have had to do.)
Panigrahi told me they started from a different point. They saw the power of the cloud plus the power of new communications networks such as 5G. Add to this advances in 3D CAD. Why, they asked, should designers try to put everything into the wearable device. Why not host the data in the cloud and use advanced networking to communicate with the device.
GridRaster does not design and sell end user devices. It works with any device and cloud service. It has what they call a unified and shared software infrastructure that enables enterprise customers to run AR, VR, XR, and MR applications.
Here are some underlying ideas and technologies:
- Ultra-low latency high fidelity remote rendering using distributed GPUs for graphics heavy computing for high-fidelity rendering without time-consuming polygon reduction, and wirelessly streaming the solution to headsets, mobile phones, and tablets.
- Millimeter precision 3D AI based spatial mapping achieving accurate 3D spatial mapping with high fidelity 3D scene reconstruction, scene segmentation, and 3D object recognition using 3D computer vision and deep learning-based AI running on discrete GPUs on the server.
- Auto scaling and deployment using DevSecOps applying gaming tools and concepts in a cloud native environment that allows for agile, secure, and rapid development, deployment, and operations on the cloud/on-premises. GridRaster uses Kubernetes for deployment and scaling. It follows a CI/CD pipeline for deployment of its services into the cluster following the best practices and CNCF graduated projects. This enables loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable, and future proof.
- Easy API-based integration open architecture approach enables a frictionless onboarding and seamless integration with existing content formats and provides future proof cross-platform support. This also allows the platform to integrate with other systems to share data and allow for interoperability.
And some use cases:
DESIGN & ENGINEERING
Enables Real-time Collaboration for Rapid Prototyping
- Enables quick iteration on the ideas and concepts
- Clearer communication among team members
- Quick decisions.
- Precise overlays of virtual models on real-world on any commercially available mobile devices, HMDs, smartglasses and PCs in real-time.
REMOTE MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND TRAINING
- Enables photo-realistic visualization and remote collaboration.
- Create a virtual environment close to real world settings, along with photo-realistic product visualization and real-time collaboration, so that the most effective environment can be created for remote maintenance, repair and training.
LARGE SCALE SIMULATIONS AND TRAINING
- Manages ultra-realistic mixed reality simulations.
- Combines the best of the gaming and traditional simulations to provide a massive multi-user and multi-platform ultra-realistic large world simulations in AR,VR and MR.
- Provides a cloud-based agile and secure deployment and operation that distributes complex computations across compute server nodes and handles scaling in real time using Kubernetes.