There are secret teams across the globe engaging in an intense race to conjure up the next great leap in computing. Most of these R&D teams are betting that the next big thing has something to do with AR/VR, but none have yet been able to articulate a coherent vision of that future. For many, their aspirations appear to be limited and myopic, centring on narrow slices of functionality or “safe” existing markets like communications or gaming.
We discovered something different: a once in a generation opportunity to create a comprehensive and immersive spatial platform whose scale rivals the internet itself. This vision was so bold and transformative that it required us to design an entirely new computing ‘metaphor’ — one which supports how people conceptualize their computing tasks today, while also supporting the more exotic and novel spatial computing activities that will be possible in the future. Essentially, our work furnished a deeper, and more human understanding of what actual people expect (and need) from a future ‘general purpose’ spatial operating system. This work culminated in a comprehensive Spatial Computing Guideline.
To get there, I led Humanistic researchers through an extensive foresight study to uncover fascinating and emergent signals of change, trends, and the forces shaping the world of tomorrow bubbling beneath the surface. In parallel, we reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers, working closely with scientists and technical experts from a wide variety of fields (Optics, HCI, Semiconductor, ML, etc). This was integral to understanding the state of the art in the field, and to extrapolate its possible trajectories based on a number of key dimensions.
Furnished with these insights, we layered on multiple rounds of co-creative and in-depth ethnographic research with early adopters, everyday users, and key industry stakeholders at the forefront of the augmented and virtual reality space.