"What once was imagined soon will be experienced," Lejerskar explained. "The technology convergence of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Web and search, and digital content means that people can experience more in their daily lives by blurring the distinction between their physical existence and digital reality."
As evidence of this trend, he points to the realization of commercially viable applications for 3D interactive virtual reality technology -- as well as the position of industry thought leaders championing the advancement of such experiences. Heavyweights Google and Microsoft are pushing this trend toward the manifestation of the 3D Internet, while computer and video game developers are whetting consumers' appetites for 3D experiences with new technologies, such as Nintendo's Wii. Hollywood studios and amusement parks also are incorporating 3D interactive virtual reality elements into their offerings.
"We're witnessing the creation of an environment in which visualization companies, industry, academia and the public sector can meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas," Lejerskar said. "Within three to four years, we'll see radical changes in how we shop, learn and communicate with business associates, friends and family. Consumers crave user-generated experiences that combine virtual reality technology with physical location-based events to produce totally immersive 3D interactive experiences."
Virtual See, Try and Buy Will Sway Shoppers
This convergence of technology already is enabling exponential growth in e-commerce, thanks in part to improved search engines that allow Web surfers to find products quickly. What's next, Lejerskar points out, is the ultimate in customization. The next generation of the Internet, Web 3.0, will allow customers to become the driving force behind e-commerce. Rather than walking into a retail store to try on a pair of jeans, for example, shoppers will be able to select clothes with the correct fit using an online 3D body scan image. This virtual see, try and buy approach will become the dominate way to shop.
"Mixed" Reality Mixes with Real Estate
The world's real estate development and sales market will get a boost from the convergence of physical realities and digital experiences, Lejerskar theorizes. With more and more workers adopting telecommuting, and geographically dispersed offices relying on tools such as Skype, the need to staff workers in the downtown sales office of a local real estate company will diminish. What's more exciting to Lejerskar is that real estate sales will be conducted through mixed-reality, fully immersed atmospheres that will allow potential buyers to not only walk through a property, but virtually transport themselves into the environment to experience the physical and sensory experience of being there. Even more futuristic is the prediction that smart builders and developers will incorporate virtual reality as a part of the physical building design to give dwellers immersive experiences beyond their four walls.
Personalized Mobile Mixed Reality Communications
The realm of personal communications will become fully integrated with mobile phones in a mixed reality where users might wear translucent goggles. Through these, wearers could see the real world as well as computer-generated images projected on top of that world, creating an interactive mixed reality experience in real time. Lejerskar explains that example of uses include:
-- Medical -- Mixed reality could be used to visualize "hidden" features. For example, a doctor could "see" a fetus inside a mother's womb. -- Industrial or Aerospace Installation and Support -- A system could be used to assist with difficult tasks by labeling parts to facilitate a mechanic's work. -- Tourism -- Location-based information labels or text could define and describe places or objects during tours. Imagine if this service was used to show archeological ruins, buildings or landscapes as these places existed in the past. -- Entertainment -- Mobile teleconferencing could be used for real participants to interact in real-time with virtual characters or people. This also lends to physical involvement or a hands-on experience with 3D gaming.
EON Experience Brings the Future Here Today
Lejerskar's future world of bold virtual reality, devices that provide a high-resolution, full-immersion visual and auditory experience at any time, is just around the corner.
"EON Reality is co-developing mixed reality products and services to give people richer, more vivid experiences and help businesses better interact with target customers," Lejerskar said. "Imagine walking through a museum wearing virtual eyeglass displays that provide real-time guidance and explanation, making art and history come alive. Even the mundane can become striking with virtual personalities that overlay the real world to help us retrieve information needed for daily chores and transactions."
Although many of Lejerskar's predictions involve technology that won't be commercially viable for three to 10 years, his company, EON Reality, is pioneering advanced 3D interactive virtual reality experiences today. EON Reality innovations include EONExperience and EON Human.
EONExperience is a 3D media solution for people to experience and share original, interactive 3D content worldwide through a Web experience. Viewers can create their own interactive 3D content by using EON Raptor, a free authoring tool for the 3ds Max plug-in, that enables users to convert 3ds Max content to interactive 3D data and then publish it for free to a Web page for viewing with a browser. As more and more people are creating interactive 3D data, EONExperience empowers them to become the interactive 3D publishers of tomorrow.
"EONExperience is a place for people to engage in new ways with interactive 3D by sharing, commenting on and experiencing interactive 3D content," he said. "EONExperience today contains a basic interactive 3D library with more than 12,000 3D objects or applications covering topics such as aerospace, medical, vehicle, construction and consumer electronic as well as entertainment and learning topics including astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and cultural heritage. This will grow exponentially as users participate in virtual communities, creating custom experiences that can be shared worldwide."
At the Intel Developer Forum, held in April in Beijing, EON Reality introduced its EON Human technology, which enables anyone to teleport real images of people into virtual reality. EON Human automatically generates a 3D face and body online from a single picture. The technology allows people to preserve themselves in 3D on the Web for eternity.
"With EON Human, anyone can capture their best memories and do more than simply make them more accessible and easier to share. This technology takes you, and your memories and will make them an interactive experience," said Lejerskar, adding "for some it will provide the ability to improve their looks without plastic surgery or capture a great image and transform it to real depth."
EON Reality launched EONExperience and EON Human at a time when online social networking is looking for a leap ahead in experiential interaction and discovery. Its technology catapults existing interactive networks into exciting, user-defined environments that defy time and space.
"We are helping to define and build out the next generation of the Internet," Lejerskar said, "and bring open, immersive and 3D technologies into mainstream society and business. Look for our next innovations to bring us even closer to a mixed-reality environment that will change the way consumers communicate, interact and conduct commerce."
About EON Reality Inc.
EON Reality Inc. is the world's leading interactive visual content management software provider. EON's products bring static images and design data to life. The EON experience creates a high level of interactivity, simulation realism, rendering quality and integrated data exchange capability optimized for high performance on today's standard PCs and Internet. Many large corporations, universities and colleges are using EON's software and integrated system solutions, such as Airbus, Atlas Copco, Siemens, Bechtel, Boeing, Bombardier, Hon, Intel, Kodak, Lexus, Lufthansa-Teknik, Peterbilt, Samsung, Sauder, Siemens Medical, Suzuki, Tetra Pak and Toyota. For more information about EON Reality, please visit www.eonreality.com.
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