Pointing XR at Real World Potential

After over a decade of looking down, things are starting to look up again…from a human computing interaction perspective that is.

The mobile computing evolution has captured our attention physically down in the palms of our hands, we know this all too well.   Powerful in its own right, limitations have become more apparent and while capabilities will no doubt continue to iteratively improve, a much more significant sea change is on the horizon.  As we embark on this new decade, much is afoot to return to our natural upright stance as humans with the next major evolution that brings the physical and digital worlds into focus, spatial computing.  

At Dark Slope, we’ve been thinking long and hard about the macro technology advancements moving rapidly on three different tracks and the full potential that becomes unlocked at the convergence of game engine technology, XR devices and 5G networks.   These technological building blocks driven through various ecosystems will enable spatial computing applications at scale.  While the gaming industry has been the catalyst thus far, the real leap in claiming XR adoption credit over the next 2-5 years will come from enterprise and industrial applications alongside mainstream mobile consumer apps.  These enterprise applications harnessing just the basic XR capabilities available today don't just solve industry problems but go way beyond ROI factors into a whole new potential for impact.

As one example, the learning experience has evolved dramatically with Dark Slope’s scenario and training solutions.  Most of today’s traditional training models are limited in effectiveness when compared to an integrated XR platform.  Dark Slope’s product and engineering teams build and operationalize the tools that make it simple to take people through a spatial learning experience, at scale.  Most XR training use cases involve a collaborative problem solving situation, procedural or scenarios that compliment a curriculum course.  Users become fully immersed in practice to refine expertise, can measure their performance improvements and thoroughly experience otherwise high risk, costly and complex scenarios.  Immersive training pushes the boundaries of real life constraints into realism.  Trainee engagement, retention and effectiveness are proving to be game changers for early adopters.  

So what’s required?  It takes the sum of a vertically integrated XR platform with specialized capabilities - 3D graphics pipeline, virtual object libraries, environment wraps and world builders, XR media management and authoring tools, real time motion and facial capture, life-like high resolution avatars, computer vision, digital object interaction, AI optimizations for training models and inferences, realtime sensory input, persistent spatial anchors and mapping layers, wireless performance - speed, reliability and low latency for smoothness and real time rendering in high resolutions.  

Transformational, yes - for entertainment, virtual production and enterprise applications.  At least this is our focus at Dark Slope.  The trick is designing for incredible flexibility and reuse both in software and creative/performance assets.  But that’s just scratching the surface.  Specialized tooling and streamlined integrations of live action and animation pipelines are moving towards agile-like production processes.  As well, incorporating storyboarding and immersive mechanics designed to achieve a purpose, evoke emotions, gather data while improving AI training models.  Distribution of experiences must be accessible to both far/wide but also close/dense multi-user situations - anywhere, on any device, anytime - you kinda get the sense of what we are up to at Dark Slope Labs! 


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