#TrailblazingTech: Is This The Real Life?

16 Dec 2020 | Culture

#TrailblazingTech: Is This The Real Life?

By Tim Abayomi-Cole

Each month, we cut through the noise to share a curated selection of the latest tech innovations with the potential to positively impact your Today, Tomorrow and Them Days After That.

2020 has been a year to remember, a year that defied all prediction and at times hasn’t seemed real. With events so extreme that they’ve often felt like a glitch in the matrix, it is only fitting that the final Trailblazing Tech of 2020 shines a light on the growing market of reality distortion through technology.

Today, Tomorrow…

The lowdown on tech that you should be gearing up to implement.

Until recently, it was thought that computers would be incapable of generating novel and realistic human faces due to processing power limitations and an apparent requirement for original thought. Despite this, over the past few years AI technology has made such great advances that computers are now able to generate unique human faces which are near-indiscernible from real human portraits.

With the software behind virtual face creation making significant improvements, firms in 2020 have taken note and begun to embrace the technology like never before. In China, a Japanese-created digital influencer, Imma, fronted a campaign for Magnum to introduce the launch of a new ice-cream flavour to much fanfare, receiving praise for being ‘astonishingly real’.

But what does this mean for the businesses of today? Well, the potential uses of the technology are widespread, ranging from realistic virtual tutors to improving interfaces in healthcare and hospitality settings.

And for marketing departments who continue to invest heavily paying large sums to models/celebs?

Well maybe it’s time they considered a more ‘digital’ approach.

…Them Days After That

Virtual Reality — the creation of a simulated experience — and Augmented Reality — the computer-enhancement of reality — have long dominated the narrative around how technology can enhance everyday lives for both consumers and businesses. But you knew about those already right? Well Spatial Computing may not have hit your radar yet.

Spatial Computing refers to computers’ ability to learn and manipulate digital reference points in relation to real objects and spaces. Simply speaking, using physical space and objects to send input to, and receive input from, a computer.

Imagine the scenario: a medical sales rep pitching a new surgical chair to a medical corporation is unable to make a key client pitch due to travel restrictions. With Spatial Computing, they could post the device to the client and attend the pitch as a hologram that respects real-world principles.

This hologram would interact with the 3D space walking around the room, avoiding tables and people, interacting with the physical surgical chair while moving around it to point out its features and capabilities in a way that would never be possible through a video conference…the hologram would even be able to look the clients directly in the eye!

We are currently limited by hardware developed to date, however the future of spatial computing is immensely exciting. Check out Magic Leap’s early foray into this technology here.

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