Virtual Moves to Real with Sensors and Digital Transformation
I was on a high-rise construction site 34-floors above the city. I was talking to the construction crew when a fight broke out. There was an explosion and the floor collapsed. I removed the virtual reality (VR) goggles and laughed. It was so real. The VR solutions provided an incredible experience, almost like being there. As good as my experience was, it was not reality. It was a controlled pre-programmed experience - a notional idea. Today, however, VR, sensors and sensory feedback technologies enable a notional idea to become reality – a Real-Reality.
IoT sensors extend our physical senses beyond our physical reach. Haptic feedback systems enable us to physically feel distant objects and experience events, digital odors can be collected, profiled, transmitted and recreated locally on odor printers, 3D infrared scanners can capture and scale physical shapes and environments and transmit them anywhere to be used by 3D printers or in digital scenes. We can visualize, sense, and mentally and emotionally experience events. These experiences, which are data centric and data heavy, go far beyond virtual reality, to Real-Reality (RR).
Wikipedia defines reality as, ”The state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.” With enough sensors collecting data, and with the right VR solutions and sensory feedback systems in place, we can step across the line from virtual to real reality. These technologies enable us to sense, feel, and experience actual events - potentially on the other side of the world. This is a big deal. This can enable experts to be anywhere on the planet, with maximum understanding of local situations.
Although many of these technologies are still in their infancy, they hint of a time very soon when the ability to bring distant realities into homes, industry and boardrooms are not only possible, but commonplace. The keys to making this future a reality, are measuring and collecting the right data, transmitting it, and optimizing the sensory experience.
How do we understand distant situations, activities, operations and events today? In many cases a human tries to capture and recreate the situation in words, and then forwards as an email or message. There are obvious limitations to this means of communication when fast moving and complex situations are involved. RR solutions with the required level of digital transformation implemented, including real-time sensors and sensory feedback systems, can communicate these experiences directly to our minds and bodies from anywhere in the world in real-time, thus bypassing the limitations of intermediary humans and written languages.
RR enables experts from anywhere in the world to conduct medical surgeries, repair specialized equipment, manage factories, farms and other kinds of operations from distant locations. The obstacles of the past that resulted in operational blind spots and incomplete information are quickly going away as RR becomes a reality - a real-reality.
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