Wider Web Lingo: xrglasses

There's a lot of lingo around the wider web (which is itself lingo) so here's the first in a series of short definition posts.

xrglasses: see-through lenses worn over the eyes that can display computer generated graphics integrated with real and virtual environments.

Pronunciation: "xr" is pronounced "zur" so "xrglasses" rhymes with "fur glasses"

Let's pick apart that definition:

See-through lenses...

Normal, non XR eyeglasses have see-through lenses.

See-through lenses in xrglasses are transparent to light from your environment but the graphics system can change or replace that light with computer graphics before it hits your eyes.

The current virtual reality headsets have one or more opaque displays positioned in front of your eyes, so they handle the display of everything you see. Opaque displays like this sometimes use a forward facing camera to let you see the real environment. These are "pass-through" systems and are not xrglasses.

...worn over the eyes...

As opposed to over the elbows, I suppose.

...that can display computer generated graphics...

Your xrglasses use essentially the same technologies as those we use to render fantastic films, video games, weather simulations, and those Snapchat filters that give you bunny ears or a mustache.

...integrated with the real and virtual environments

Your xrglasses can map your real environment and use that information to insert computer graphics that appear to inhabit that space. For example, your xrglasses could position an animated character so that it appears to be sitting in a real chair and looking out of a real window.

There is no distinct line between real and virtual environments in xrglasses. A few small computer graphics could be inserted into the real environment or reality could be covered by computer graphics to modify how you see the world in more or less radical ways. For example, xrglasses could filter the real world to look like a scratchy, black and white movie.

A note about audio

Almost all xrglasses will be able to play spatial audio and most people will want those sounds to be private and not heard by others.

Current xrglasses often play sound on speakers in the frame, much like a speaker phone will play sounds that anyone nearby can hear. I expect this will change as more people discover that they want privacy and as nearby people discover how annoying it is to hear others xrglasses.

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