The virtual world of “Metaverse” was very present at the Las Vegas Electronics Show

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The virtual world of “Metaverse” was strongly present at the Las Vegas Electronics Show “Consumer Electronic Show”, which ended on Saturday with the innovations presented by emerging companies aimed at building a virtual world in which human realities merge with virtual ones and increase.

And the Spanish firm Owo has created a sensor-lined jacket, which allows the wearer to feel hugs and even punches in virtual reality. Its president, Jose Fuertes, asked: “What good are metaverses without feeling emotions? They will just be digital tokens” (Avatar).

The fitted jacket has straps that snug against the skin, with sensors linked to a mobile app. Before putting on the VR helmet, the user can choose the strength of each sensation, from the sensation of insect bites to the blood flowing from a gunshot wound.

“We want to shape the ‘metaverse’ with a second layer of skin that adds a sense of touch to virtual worlds,” says Fuertes.

The jacket, which will sell for less than $ 452 later this year, is reminiscent of the novel “Ready Player One,” which talks about humanity as it lives, plays and studies in a parallel virtual community using tactile devices.

Such a growth in science fiction still seems a long way off, as bandwidth is still too low in many parts of the world, including California, at least for video calling.

But Facebook, which recently adopted the name “Meta”, gave unprecedented momentum to the huge “Metaverse” project when its president, Mark Zuckerberg, said last year that this world was shaping the future of the Internet and has announced huge investments in it.

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unavoidable?

Several components are required to launch Metaverse on a large scale beyond the pockets of video games like Roblox and Fortnite. The goggles for this system should become comfortable and affordable, and diving use cases should multiply. There is also the question of interoperability that allows the transition from one virtual world to another, which is not yet possible.

“I’m a huge fan of AR and VR, but the equipment is out of date,” said Paddy Cosgrave, head of Web Summit, a European electronics fair. “I don’t think anything exciting will happen for five or ten years.”

“Nothing can stop” metaverses, said Edu Segal, founder of Touchcast, a company specializing in effects and virtual reality.

Wednesday launched a virtual reality collaboration platform between companies that can create email addresses ending in “dot metaverse”, such as “dot com” (“com.”). But their domains will be registered in a blockchain database, rather than on a server.

“In 1999, it was hard to believe we were going to buy things online,” Segal said. “Today we are witnessing a transition from the second generation of Web 2.0 to the third generation of Web 3.0 which is the decentralized Internet.”

The pandemic has made virtual reality even more common, as one million copies of the Quest 2 Doculus (Meta) headset were sold worldwide in the last quarter of 2020, according to Statista.

cyborg

Since health restrictions began, Takuma Iwasa spends his weekends on VR Chat, a platform where digital avatars can create 3D worlds, spend time chatting, and throwing parties.

At the end of 2020, the young Japanese entrepreneur decided to design a special equipment represented by sensors on the chest and legs to make the movements of the digital characters more realistic, a case that gives a sense of temperature and a microphone separate from the real world.

In the spring, its Panasonic subsidiary, Shiftol, will introduce lighter, more advanced and more expensive VR goggles than currently available models. “In ‘Ready Player One’ they have jackets with all systems built in. But at the moment these jackets have to be worn separately, like ‘cyborg’,” Takuma laughed, showing his digital character’s dance moves on the screen. The Israeli startup, Wearable Devices, is working on a bracelet that captures electrical signals sent from the brain to the hand, where the user will be able to control connected objects with the touch of a finger.

This feature could come in handy in the future if people use augmented reality glasses and need to control the objects displayed on the lenses, without resorting to smartphones.

Marc Carrell-Pierre, Axantour’s chief innovation officer, expected “a lot of absolutely crazy things to be tested, like the first planes and the first cars.” He believed that with the development of “Metaverse”, the company would face many risks, ranging from harassment to disinformation. “It will be necessary to educate users about the risks, such as having someone show a ‘false reality’ on your glasses,” he added.

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