The richness of Communication in Mixed Reality

The ability to transfer the thought is what governs the richness of a communication medium. Mixed Reality today stands a good chance of becoming the Richest communication medium so far.

Most of the communication medium so far are spatially stationary, however, Mixed Reality due to its inherent nature of being attached to the human body is portable which makes it all the richer.

In this article, I want to present 2 parameters for measuring Richness of Mixed Reality — Granularity, and Portability.

Context

Communication is made richer by the inclusion of these senses in various combination. Space, context and ability to communicate while doing some activity makes it all the more rich and natural.

Apart from these senses, the movement (fine and coarse) of our face and body is what makes the communication simple or complex. And these non-verbal form of communications forms 65–70% of the total communication.

Body Language

To parametrically understand the thoughts here it is important to know what Granularity and Portability mean in the context of communication.

Granularity is the number of senses and non-verbal form of communication signals that are being transferred from an actor to the receiver or audience.

Portability means if the actor is able to move while she is communicating and receiver is able to carry these signals along with them while they are on the move.

It all first started with a cell

Cells typically communicate using chemical signals. These chemical signals, which are proteins or other molecules produced by a sending cell, are often secreted from the cell and released into the extracellular space. There, they can float — like messages in a bottle — over to neighboring cells.

Source: Khan academy

Media Richness

Media richness theory Daft and Lengel (1984, 1986)

With evolution, humans have also evolved modes of communication. Speech, Vision, Touch, Smell, and Taste. However, all of these have been constrained by time and space (geographically), until technological inventions. Telephone, Telescope, TV, Radio, Microscope etc. have all allowed us to communicate but limited to vision, speech and to some extent touch only.

Philosophically, Thought is the strongest form of communication and it’s the most powerful one too. It stands the test of time and geography. At it’s origin, it’s unspoken, unheard, untouched, untasted and hardly smelt, but has the power to cross boundaries and become immortal in times.

When we are sitting together we communicate using voice, touch, expressions, body movements/gestures, eyes and the way we respond to communication signals. In the prehistoric era, the sender and the receiver, both have to be present in the same space for the communication to happen. But when they were spatially rather geographically apart it wasn’t possible. The technological evolution of computer-mediated communication has changed the granularity of means of communication and its portability. In either case, the communication is not portable. However, as technology has evolved it has become possible to make different parts of communication portable.

Evolution of Communication

Over a period of time, technology has developed quite mature and standard means communicating between humans. Languages, written scripts, body and hand gestures, emojis, visual styles, and these standards are now being utilized to communicate the message to somebody who can be thousands of miles away. If we observe the granularity and the speed of the communication has also evolved with advancements in technology. Earlier it was possible to communicate using text only via telegraph, letters, newspaper etc. and it used to take quite an amount of time to reach the recipient. With telephone and telephone, voice and vision also got transmitted. In a natural way if we want to communicate with somebody both the person have to be in the same place or at least be traveling together.

With the advent of mobile phones with voice and vision capabilities, it has become possible to communicate messages on the go. It means both the sender and receiver can be on the move while communicating voice, visuals, facial expressions and to some extent body gestures too. However, the sender and viewer are tied to a flat screen.

Mixed Reality — a Richer medium

Granularity

Spatial

Portability

A Richer experience — Granular and Portable

Portable and Granular Communication in MR

Imagine taking a stroll in the garden and you are talking with your friend. They will be placed in a localized position in the space around you. As you are walking they also get carried with your location in the space you are present in. But the moment you look away from them you lose their view. However, instead of tied to the space around you they travel along with you. As if you are traveling with them on an imaginary carpet.

A Philosophical View

VR is a machine that makes us more human — Chris Milk, TED Talk

Kumar Ahir is an independent consultant working in the field of Immersive Technologies and Design. He is an evangelist for new Immersive Technologies and Design by actively doing workshops on Design Thinking, Design for AR and VR, Prototyping for Mixed Reality technologies.

He aims to create a better Design Ecosystem for Immersive Technologies.

Know more about him at LinkedIn and Twitter

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successful exit in first startup oobi.in, AR VR enthusiast, ex CISCO, SYMANTEC, interaction designer, entrepreneur. More at www.kumarahir.com

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Kumar Ahir

successful exit in first startup oobi.in, AR VR enthusiast, ex CISCO, SYMANTEC, interaction designer, entrepreneur. More at www.kumarahir.com