Originally published on August 9, 2021. This story is brought to you today as part of our Best ECT News series.
The Siggraph virtual conference takes place this week, and Nvidia is making its opening speech.
In the last few months during Nvidia’s GTC event, they shocked the audience by making an entire keynote speech in a virtual environment using Nvidia’s omniverse very authentically, like a real-world location.
I don’t know how you are, but I want to kill because the ability to create a Team, Webex or Zoom background is not the main static 2D image of somewhere that I don’t have and instead looks like the real thing.
Much of what you’ll see at Siggraph involves the creation of the Metaverse, which is conceptually very similar to the artificial world that the movie “The Matrix” showed.
This technology will not only have a big impact on much lower-cost and better film graphics, but also for the ability to translate what’s in our imagination into real-world events and lay a firmer foundation for everything; from more realistic games to digital immortality.
Metaverse and tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse have the potential to create the kind of disruptive change the Internet made in the 1990s.
Let’s take a closer look at this emerging technology. Then we’ll end up with my product of the week – a free education app for young, fun kids and helping them develop cognitive skills.
Building the ‘Matrix’
I’m a lover of LitRPG books. These are fantasy books where the characters find themselves living in a world defined by game logic. Like a game, the characters gain levels and powers as they work through missions surrounded by more real NPCs or non-player characters. “Ready Player One” is a book and film created from that concept.
In “Ready Player One,” the hero wears an immersive suit and VR helmet that allows him to live in the virtual world while feeling as if it is correct. The “Matrix” is a virtual world on a large scale. At the same time, its reasoning in the film is admittedly a bit of troublesome (using humans to generate electricity rather than, I don’t know, actual generators in another respect).
But the idea of living your life in a virtual world is coming. At Siggraph, in Nvidia’s opening speech, you’ll see how close it is.
The advent of metaverse is an event that could overshadow the internet as it will eventually create digital parallel virtual universes, including those that simulate the natural world and those that are pure imagination. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
Use tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse
Envision countries that can build the cities of tomorrow in practice and practice while still allowing citizens to explore, enjoy, and impact those new locations decades before completion. Think about being able to model natural and man-made disasters to understand how to better defend against them.
How about virtual vacations? You can travel to the digital twins of real places or rendering environments created by developers.
I want to visit Edger Rice Burroughs’ Mars. Or maybe the town I grew up in as it was back then. I’ll tell you that the odds later on are far off, but it’s at least possible that future AI using digital records of that moment can do just that.
Nvidia used omniverse in the CEO’s keynote speech at GTC. Right at the end of the speech, you can see the deconstruction kit at about 1 hour and 48 minutes in this video:
Imagine if you could do this in your Zoom meetings. Or, build yourself a virtual home with the kind of detail that you can, with a VR rig, wander around and enjoy your spare time.
Then I would like to say that, with the level of reality (from the sockets on the walls and the construction works), you can build it. But why bother? Virtual locations will be less expensive to maintain, and you can change it at any time you wish to do so without hiring a contractor.
End: It’s going to be great!
We are still in the early stages of this; Think of the time that Netscape first appeared on the Internet timeline, and Nvidia reported thousands of users, hundreds of companies, and the initial level of excitement, well, reflecting the days before the browser.
We even have something similar to HTML, with universal scene description (USD), created by Pixar.
In a few years, it may no longer matter what is real because we mostly live in virtual worlds, some virtual worlds are disconnected from reality. “Barsoom,” I’m here.
Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids is a free app that runs on most Android and Apple platforms, helping children under the age of 5 develop early cognitive skills.
With the Covid-19 pandemic moving to children and some uneven mask and vaccine requirements, many parents choose to keep their children at home, which is not good for brain development, especially for young children. (I quite believe that one of my relatives gave birth to two demons due to how much they were active during the summer.)
The app, rated by those who rated 4.7 stars out of five, seems to be just a ticket. Parents say that their children like it, it keeps them busy and it seems to have done an excellent job of helping prepare for their first years of schooling.
Keeping children busy while helping to develop a young brain is especially important during this pandemic. Khan Academy has apps for older children that are also positively rated by older children who are using that app.
Khan Academy was created by Sal Khan, an American educator who created this free basic platform with about 6,500 video lessons for children of all ages.
It is free for both students and teachers and for many, it has become an important tool for children to study at home during the pandemic.
The organization is funded from donations, so if you believe in helping children, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, consider contributing to that effort (I did). That’s a worthy reason because all children need a great source of education, especially during this time.
I chose Khan Academy as my product of the week because it touched my heart. I hope it touches yours too.
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