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Understanding the metaverse and what the future holds for the digital space

It’s a term that has been familiar in tech circles for some time but Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook would be changing its umbrella company name to Meta has left the word “Metaverse” on everyone’s lips.  

Dr Krisada Chaiyasarn, CTO and Co-Founder of deep tech company Perception Codes explains why we should all be taking a closer look at the Metaverse and how immersive technologies will continue to flourish in this digital ecosystem.

The concept of a centralised virtual world that works in tandem with the physical world is something that may once have felt like science fiction. As Facebook’s rebrand to Meta in October suggests, however, we find ourselves already on the cusp of this reality. As global tech giants look to position themselves for a more immersive and comprehensive digital future, we can take it as a clear indication that the Metaverse is now very much science fact.

Of course, this has been accelerated as a result of the global pandemic. With people confined to their homes and encouraged to engage online in both professional and social activities, it’s become clear that virtual spaces are the fastest and most convenient way to interact during our daily lives.

It’s important to state that the Metaverse isn’t a replacement for the physical. However, it complements the physical, improving accessibility to information and helping to reduce humans’ carbon emissions caused by motorised travel.

From social spaces like Facebook and Twitter to business management platforms to cryptocurrencies and NFTs (one of my own key areas of interest), digital experiences, communications and transactions are developing in a big way.

Holo-museums, NFTs and assigning value in the Metaverse

For centuries museums have fulfilled their roles as cultural institutions in very much the same way. Collecting and curating within a fixed space and encouraging people to visit in order to share in the value of those exhibitions and collections.

However, what many institutions have successfully shown over the course of the last two years is that they don’t need to focus their efforts wholly on driving footfall and bringing people to them. Instead, they can inform, entertain, engage and add value to people’s lives by delivering content online. Whether it’s videos or virtual tours or blog articles, many museums have discovered their ability to resonate with bigger, broader and equally passionate audiences, no matter where they are in the world.

It is this opportunity that excites me when I think where the Metaverse is heading. Accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability are themes that are becoming more central to museums’ missions, and there is no doubt that institutions can help to meet these goals by establishing themselves in the Metaverse.

A genuine question I often hear is how museums can retain that value once they are interacting in the online space. This is a challenge we are working hard to solve at Perception Codes.

As regular readers of MuseumNext may be aware, we have recently developed a platform known as The Morpheus Project, supporting cultural institutions and artists to build on their digitisation programmes and make their exhibits more immersive through Holographic NFTs. As my Co-Founder at Perception, Dr Sirisilp Kongsilp, explained at the Digital Exhibitions Summit, these digital representations are tokenised to allow museums, galleries, artists or collectors to establish ownership and raise funds from the assets. From here they can be accessed by a global audience, utilised as virtual learning resources, licensed to other institutions or sold in their entirety.

Another application for 3D holographic artefacts and artworks within the metaverse can be found in our recently launched Holo-MUSEUM. Our Desktop AR technology is designed to democratise immersive learning experiences and we are delighted to have recently worked with the Imperial War Museum and Science Museum Group to demonstrate how this can work in the Metaverse through Holo-Museum.

All users need is a pair of basic 3D glasses and the Holo-Museum app to get started. Within this collaboration with UK museums we have enabled school children in Britain to access museum collections in an engaging and immersive way, helping to share stories and develop interactive experiences using cutting edge 3D technology. And that is what I see the Metaverse being all about.

Find out more about Perception’s Holo-Museum launch with the Imperial War Museum and Science Museum Group here. Or visit the website here and get started.

About the author – Dr Krisada Chaiyasarn

Dr Krisada Chaiyasarn is currently an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Thammasat University. He obtained his PhD, MEng and BA in Engineering from the University of Cambridge. He worked as Software Developer and Business Analyst at JP Morgan. He received many prestigious awards for his academic achievement including EPSRC for his PhD studies from the UK government and Royal Thai Government scholarship, best paper awarded by American Society of Civil Engineering in 2016, and best research project by Thailand Research Fund in 2018.

Dr Krisada currently teaches at universities and gives public lectures as well as conducts research in deep technology. His current lectures are in the following fields: Deep Learning, Computer Vision, and Structural Health Monitoring. He is leading a research group and has published several papers in related fields.

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