Prepare to learn even more from 'XR'
A new glossy thing called XR — a paraglider term that embraces technology for enhanced, virtual and mixed reality — is the new favorite word in the industry.
On Tuesday, the Consumer Technology Organization that organized the giant electronics show will gather a group of people who will forecast the prospects for money-making for XR. NEXT WEEK AT CES, an 18-year old humane eyes company named HumanEyes, will showcase an online camera called the XR Vuze.
In a recent Hawaiian presentation about the latest Snapdragon chip, the new company named XR the "third entertainment pillar" shows a graphical image of a "XR Viewer" operated by smartphones as well as standalone "XR glasses."
Thus... What is XR ?
It's not a new convention on names either. That is to say that Apple's latest iPhone XR is not responsible for the trend, which was allegedly either named after nothing or the love of Phil Schiller's Apple Executive for the stuff going space.
Jim Malcolm, General Manager of HumanEyes, notes that "XR does not apply to any particular technology. Malcolm explains that HumanEyes gave the new Vuze camera the XR moniker, as it captures both a 360-degree, flat-screen video in 5.7k and a 180 degree, stereo or 3D video in 5.7k. "It's a bucket for all realities" means AR (increased reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed or blended reality). The addition of 'XR' to the name of the product should also signify that something else is being done, thus simplifying things for a whole population of customers who have yet to understand fully AR/VR/MR.
Whatever the facts
"XR" has been used for decades to describe some kind of visual expansion of reality. It listed the cross-reality and the expanded reality as well. In past years, wearable device researcher and inventor Steve Mann used the term "mediated reality;" more recently, he suggested the word "* R." Mann states in an article in April of this year that photographer Charles Wyckoff filed a patent in the 1960s for a "XR" movie that "permits people to look beyond their normal human vision at nuclear explosions and other phenomena."
How do I get this and What is XR?
The Virtual Reality WIRED Guide
Sometimes, as in 1988, when the company added "extended resolution" to the Hi8 formats and older Video8 formats, Sony added XR to its products and Standards. A Wikypedia entry to XR for computing also credits Sony with the "XR" and "X-reality" trademarks. It turns out that this is not entirely true: Sony's spokesperson informs WIRED that while XR has been included in some of the U.S. Patent & Trademark registrations and included in its marketing of some products it does not have an entry or an inte input for Sony Electronics.
More recently, XR has become a form of paragraph for next level digitals, which are aimed directly into the face of tech enterprises such as Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Google and Facebook on our tablets.
Both these businesses have various proposals for the coexistence between real-world imagery and virtual imagery. Some think it is on a smartphone monitor, others think that it is by using smart glasses, and others have to cover the head in a VR headset completely. Certain headsets give three degrees of freedom; others, "6DoF." Not to mention the video standards for consumer goods
Things easily become disorientating with so many digital realities. This uncertainty is to be alleviated by the word XR. Last summer, the Khronos Group tech consortium launched the OpenXR initiative to create a common programming interface that "can expose all runtimes of XR." In other words, all this will be more available if developers are able to construct applications that are not so narrowly located in one AR or VR category versus another. The OpenXR initiative involves some of the listed companies.
This could be of benefit to developers, but you couldn't be blamed if every time you see "XR" attached to a person wearing a face-computer, or used in a new camera naming convention you are planning to purchase.
Malcolm at HumanEyes claims that "consumers are quite intelligent and are going to recognize that XR means, 'This works across platforms.' But it is our job to markets this at the same time so that people can't be confused."
The XR head of Qualcomm, Hugo Swart, admits that XR is simply a description of all these current facts, which are still being researched by most people. "I think that calling an XR device would be misleading today."
But Swart says he hopes in the future that the "XR" moniker will be justified by an actual technical convergence. In AR glasses the same technology in a voluminous head mounted display can be used to conveniently "tune" truth to various levels. "We can do simple overlays before our faces, or we can end up in a future place where 95% of what I see is digital and 5% real," says Swart, "and XR is for all levels."
Written and edited by Larry Singol for Virtual Reality Israel 2013