During Future Talks at the Museum of the Future, Alex Kipman walks the audience through the experience of Microsoft HoloLens
Alex Kipman during Future Talks at Dubai’s Museum of the Future. — Supplied photo
Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:30 PM
Last updated: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:31 PM
The Metaverse, a 3D universe where the boundaries between physical and virtual reality are dissolved, is no longer a science fiction but “science-fact”, Alex Kipman, vice-president of Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality at Microsoft. Aided by mixed-reality technology such as the Microsoft HoloLens; it allows users to seamlessly blend into a virtual environment, he said.
Kipman was speaking at Dubai’s Museum of the Future, during the third session of the ‘Future Talks’ series. Kipman described the Metaverse — a persistent, online, 3D universe that combines multiple different virtual spaces as a future iteration of the internet which will seamlessly blend the virtual and real world.
“For all the hype around the Metaverse, I want to define my definition of the Metaverse,” said Kipman. “It is the idea of correspondence between the real and virtual world. It is the idea of technology existing in the real world. It is a bridge between the virtual and the real world. This is done through the language of people, places and things. It can displace space and time.”
Kipman walked the audience through an immersive video of what it feels like to see through the eye of the HoloLens; to rousing applause from the audience.
The HoloLens — Microsoft’s take on augmented reality, which they call “mixed reality”, — is a pair of mixed reality smartglasses that uses multiple sensors, advanced optics, thermal sensors and holographic processing that melds seamlessly with its environment. These holograms can be used to display information, blend with the real world, or even simulate a virtual world.
“These are one of the key technologies that have allowed us to progress forward in this journey to displace space and time,” he said, pointing out that the HoloLens is already being used in the real world; such as in operating theatres, enabling surgeons to view three-dimensional holographic images of a patient’s anatomy and move those virtual images around to see them from different angles.
The future is a multifaceted mixed reality
Kipman, who was chosen by Time magazine among the 100 most important people in the world for 2011, also talked about the current and future applications of mixed reality, saying that this technology opens the door to achieving leaps in the field of education, especially by mixing theoretical education with realistic training and allowing students to test different devices and systems or moving to the fields of historical events to live the experiences in them as if they were on the ground.
He added that mixed reality will have a tremendous impact on studies in the fields of health and medicine, entertainment, the military and defence sector, remote work and retail.
Drawing his dialogue to a close, Kipman praised the UAE for its vision for the future.
“I am extremely impressed with the vision of UAE; it is my first trip here and to just see the consistency of vision and execution that allows you to, from just short of two generations, to go from where you were to where you are today is nothing short of visionary.”
Museum of the Future
Khalifa Al Qama, Director of Dubai Future Labs, said: “Discussions about mixed reality and the opportunities that metaverses provide to humanity in all sectors in the future reflect the forward-looking vision of the Museum of the Future, which employs the concept of immersive experiences for the visitor to the future to live the experience himself in all its aspects and dimensions.”
He added: “At the Museum of the Future, we seek to provide a better understanding of the opportunities that metaverses and mixed reality hold, to help societies face the future challenges and devise better ways to address them. This stems from the Museum’s mandate as a living laboratory for innovation and foresight in the fields of health, education, smart cities, energy, and transportation.”