Top 5 XR Trends for 2022

by Anastasia Deripaska

It might seem impossible to grasp, but 2021 is already headed for home and 2022 is on deck, raring to go. As we gaze forward into the crystal ball, what sights and sounds will be the ones that take us the farthest in the year to come? Here’s a look at the top five trends for extended reality (XR) in 2022. 

#1 Machine Learning

 To get to all the cool stuff, you have to have the power behind it first, and that means Artificial Intelligence, more specifically Machine Learning (ML). The ML we are most familiar with is the type that pours through Big Data looking for patterns, but this is a horse of a slightly different color. Matched with augmented reality (AR), ML can start to really understand what certain devices, especially smartphones, are looking at - such as understanding how to track movement in a room, realize where the floor is and what a table is, and all sorts of good stuff like that. This will make it easier to overlay AR environments and augment collaborative situations.

#2 Full-Body Tracking

Just like ML can be used for AR enhancement, it can be used for full-body tracking without hooking someone up to a million little gizmos that make them look like Jar Jar Binks on the set of Star Wars. Nothing takes away the illusion of digital content faster than having it butt into the actual real people in a space, for both safety and immersion reasons. This sort of advancement could be revolutionary for things like realistic clothing on avatars to enhance experiences.

#3 All-In-One VR

If you were alive in the 1980s, you might remember that you needed at least an entire desk, and maybe an accompanying table to have the full setup of a personal computer. We’re talking the combination CPU/keyboard that weighed enough that if you dropped it on your hand you were off to the emergency room, the monitor, the thing that let the monitor rest on the computer, the joystick, the disk drive, and the printer - which could knock out 10 pages in roughly 15 minutes. Virtual reality components started off roughly the same way - you had your CPU, your headset, the actual software that you were running, and a hand controller. Not exactly making you feel immersed when you had to negotiate all the hardware time after time. But all-in-one VR headsets are already out there, and not only are their headsets and earphones coming together now, but soon wireless tech that will react to your gestures and make the controllers a thing of the past.

#4 The Metaverse

Considering the metaverse is a little like when you first heard that Marvel was making an Avengers movie with all the superheroes on screen at the same time - you were super excited about it, but couldn’t figure out how they were actually going to pull it off. Suffice to say, if the metaverse matches the 2012 blockbuster’s box office success, it will be a marvel in its own right. For now, it’s still a bunch of heavyweights trying to figure out how to be both first and best. Should be a fun race to watch.

#5 Cross-Application Content

Porting content is no longer the wave of the future, and consumers have proven time and again that they are done wanting there to be clear lines of delineation between their online and offline experiences. The technology is being harnessed by companies all over the world to develop omnichannel capabilities and take their customers on journeys across multiple touch points in an attempt to engage the user at every turn and in every way that they want.