In the last decade we have seen the beginnings of the mixed reality revolution. From Snapchat filters to Pokémon GO, augmented reality has become a part of our daily lives. Virtual reality, on the other hand, is increasingly advanced and affordable, offering new ways to entertain and educate the next generation. It marks a monumental technological change; one where there will be an unlimited opportunity to express your creativity; one where you can be who you want to be; one where you can build a world where you want to live. Yes, it sounds like the premise of a ’90s science fiction film, but technology is advancing at an exponential rate that will soon reach your fingertips. Computer processors are becoming faster, more powerful, more capable, and more accessible. This, in turn, will ultimately alter the LGBTQ + experience as we know it today.
The term “mixed reality” is what houses all these new formats; a mix of physical reality with digital elements, virtual experiences and hyperconnectivity. “We’re trying to define any immersive digital experience or technology,” says Alex Semenzato, director of Talenthouse’s Global Strategic Partnerships. “Anything that is multisensory, 3D and immersive. Everything is under XR, which means mixed reality. People know artificial reality and virtual reality, but there are all these extravagant and wonderful things and that’s when they all go through a mixed reality. These new technologies are becoming more and more sophisticated, as is our way of looking at them as consumers. “A couple of years ago people would have thought it was a ruse, but now we’re starting to see it being used for more utilitarian purposes, such as placing furniture in your home from IKEA, or [looking around] car showrooms. Even more so with the pandemic, people and brands have really been able to provide these digital experiences while people are safe at home. It is the next revolution. As there are more and more brands, it will move towards a wider consumer base. Over time there will be more consumer adoption and people will realize that it is something that has remained and can be very useful.
This fast-growing market needs aspiring skilled creatives to understand the technology behind XR and create these new future experiences for consumers. That’s where Reality.House comes in. A new platform launched earlier this year, Reality.House, will provide opportunities for inspiration, education and development for creatives who want to participate or want to advance their training in mixed reality formats. There is educational content for different skill levels, news on the latest technological developments, and information on innovative ways in which creatives can connect with brands to respond to business reports. “We saw this opportunity to provide new opportunities for creators with more skills in the power of RA: literally, bring your imagination to life,” says Alex. “Whether you’re a 2D or a 3D creator, you’re halfway there. You have the basic skills to use tools like Facebook ‘s Spark AR.
For director and writer Jade Ang Jackman, mixed reality offers him new avenues of creativity to which he had not had so much access. “As a filmmaker, I’ve always been very interested in how I can incorporate elements of augmented reality into the set building,” he says. “Special effects and VFX can be quite expensive. But what is exciting about mixed reality, AR and VR, is that it has become much more accessible than ever. ” Jade is a contributor to the Reality.House platform and has explored ways in which technology helps people improve their creativity. As a member of the LGBTQ + community, naturally your perspective is through a queer lens.