How do we embrace immersive technologies: VR, AR, MX and XR – Onionlab
16-6-20

How do we embrace immersive technologies: VR, AR, MX and XR

In past months our lives changed drastically and unexpectedly. From everyday human contact, we ended up living in a virtual world. Suddenly, ordinary daily activities such as: working and socializing had to be done online, via online conference calls or classes. Extended Reality, a term used to describe immersive technologies, proved its value in a crisis such as Covid-19. These are hard times for audiovisual studios that mostly depend on physical events and installations where they can showcase their works of art. Are immersive technologies the answer? 

Different immersive technologies

Immersive technologies
Immersive technologies

It is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in a way that she suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. Users are fully immersed in a simulated digital environment. Users must wear a VR headset or head-mounted display that will transform them to different realities; they could be running in the jungle or exploring the moon. VR has been proved to be very useful in engineering, construction, healthcare and the military. The two VR videos Onionlab created are: Paradoxa and Sunmachine.

Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Paradoxa VR 2020, Onionlab
Sunmachine VR, Onionlab
Sunmachine VR, Onionlab
Sunmachine VR, Onionlab
Sunmachine VR, Onionlab

Augmented Reality (AR)

It refers to a simple combination of real and computer-generated worlds. Given a real subject, captured on a video or camera, the technology augments (adds to) that real-world image with extra layers of digital information. You can access the experience with AR glasses, screens, tablets and smartphones. The most well-known examples of AR are probably the Pokemon GO or Snapchat filters.

In house tests of AR, Onionlab
In house tests of AR, Onionlab
In house tests of AR, Onionlab
In house tests of AR, Onionlab

Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed reality combines aspects of augmented and virtual reality. It is sometimes called enhanced AR, since it is similar to AR technology, but provides more physical interaction. It is the latest immersive technology. It requires an MR headset. One of the great examples is Microsoft’s HoloLens. The MR of HoloLens combines a seamless device with apps and solutions that help people across the business learn, communicate, and collaborate more effectively.

HoloLens 2 model
HoloLens 2 model

Extended Reality (XR)

It is a term used to describe immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), that can merge physical and virtual worlds. These worlds are blended in order to give us a fully immersed experience. XR represents a completely new world, imagine sitting in an empty room that within seconds turns into a mind blowing universe. From your living room, you can swim in the deep oceans, fly through galaxies, have dinner at a nice restaurant or shop for clothes. The practical applications of XR are in virtual meetings, retail, training, remote work, marketing, real estate, stage design for the events and entertainment. XR clearly faces challenges related to privacy and data protection, the high cost, hardware and technical issues. However it is believed that these issues are highly solvable and that XR will become mainstream in the next 5 years.

Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set without XR
Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set without XR
Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set with XR
Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set with XR
Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set with XR
Katy Perry, Daisies (live from American Idol finale), set with XR

How does Onionlab implement XR in their work?

We have always been interested in XR and the possibilities it offers for our projects. Therefore we have designed a solution to create online events using extended reality. XR events will allow the users to experiment with real and virtual backgrounds live, using different video communication platforms. We have available an XR audiovisual studio that allows us to create live online events to present products and services, celebrate conferences, online workshops or any other social interaction event that requires it to be done remotely. All these different events are accompanied by visually enhancing environments created with the objective to surprise the users that are on the other side of the screen.

Creating an XR set, Onionlab
Creating an XR set, Onionlab
Creating an XR set, Onionlab
Creating an XR set, Onionlab
Creating an XR set, Onionlab
Creating an XR set, Onionlab

Another available space that can be used to make events retransmitted in streaming with XR is the XRoom. XRoom is a meeting/showcase room that we have designed for Barcelo hotel in Barcelona. The room is an innovative solution for a hotel industry because it turns any presentation into an immersive experience with projection mapping on all the walls. This room allows to celebrate online events having a virtual content that people can interact with, through the projection mapping on the walls or generating an AR content. 

XRoom at Barcelo hotel, Onionlab
XRoom at Barcelo hotel, Onionlab
XRoom at Barcelo hotel, Onionlab
XRoom at Barcelo hotel, Onionlab

With the world constantly changing, the only way to keep up and thrive is to adapt to changes. We are trying to embrace novelty and progress and implement them in our projects so they fit to our ever changing world.