Metaverse is an evolution of the Internet and the World Wide Web – that’s an interesting way of putting it. And the way Jeff Kember Director, Omniverse Technologies at NVIDIAexplains it, makes a lot of sense.
“It’s an embodied 3D web where we can connect to virtual worlds that look and feel to us as rich and complex as the real world. We can play, socialize, work and create within these interoperable worlds despite being separated by great distances in the real world.”
In this interview, Kember talks about the concept of Metaverse, its development and the NVIDIA Omniverse.
Traditional 3D worlds were intended for gaming and entertainment, each of them separate and non-interoperable. But with the confluence of enabling technologies such as real-time ray tracing, GPU-accelerated datacenter-scale computing, real-time physics simulation, AI, and open-source 3D (Universal Scene Description) standards, we are able to create virtual worlds for industry and AI -Use cases and enable portability and interoperability between these worlds.
What is the NVIDIA Omniverse? How is it different from the Metaverse?
We believe the term metaverse is a broad description of the many types of virtual worlds that we will see as the evolution of the web as we know it today. One thing that is essential to all of these worlds is that they share a common basis for how they are presented, experienced, and most importantly, connected.
Omniverse is a platform that connects virtual worlds and is built on USD (Universal Scene Description), which can be thought of as HTML of 3D. Omniverse connects to most industry-leading 3D software; It can be extended and applications can be built on this platform using a built-in SDK called Kit.
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How does NVIDIA contribute to the Metaverse?
Since NVIDIA was founded, we have been working to develop technologies that enable the simulation of virtual worlds: rendering, physics, AI and the basis of calculation. These are all core requirements to create the Metaverse.
Simulating virtual worlds with high fidelity is an incredibly challenging problem. It’s actually a never-ending problem. We can use more and more computing power to make our virtual worlds bigger, more complex and richer.
But there is more to it than that.
There are two major technological challenges NVIDIA is addressing:
- Make it easy for everyone to get involved in the creation of high-fidelity virtual worlds
- Efficiently scale realistic simulation of virtual worlds to computers in the data center and in the cloud
The 2D web thrives because virtually anyone can create a web page and participate in building the ever-expanding web. 3D content for virtual worlds is much more difficult to create – it requires great expertise, so only a small group of elite game and 3D artists can do it. With a major investment in universal scene description, advanced computing, simulation, computer vision, and AI, at NVIDIA we are developing the tools that enable more people to participate in building high-fidelity virtual worlds.
The other big challenge is simulating large complex worlds. Today, virtually all game engines are limited to running a computer – be it a game console, a PC, a mobile device… If you want to simulate a larger world with greater accuracy, you can’t throw more computers at it to make it run faster make.
We recently introduced NVIDIA OVX, a computing system purpose-built for enterprises to create and run large-scale digital twins. The development and operation of factory-, city-, and planet-scale digital twin simulations require new computer architecture software and hardware that can operate multiple autonomous systems at precise time in the same spacetime and constantly receive and process live-streamed data from the physical counterpart.
Omniverse is a platform that connects existing workflows and existing tools. The tools you use don’t have to change with Omniverse, they are enhanced and enhanced by the platform.
We are actively evangelizing USD support across all developer ecosystems – game development, design and content creation, AEC, manufacturing/industrial, even robotics – and are seeing a swarm of support. We work with leading software developers to create integrations to Omniverse including Adobe, Autodesk, Esri, Graphisoft, Epic Games, Bentley and more.
Omniverse is already being used across industries – be it DNEG or Sony Pictures Animation to build accelerated USD media and entertainment workflows; by Foster + Partners or KPF to take architectural design to the next level; by Ericsson to create a digital twin of a city to optimize 5G deployment; by the BMW Group for building factories of the future; or by Lockheed Martin to create simulation environments to better predict the spread of wildfires.
How far have we traveled in terms of technology to make the metaverse a reality?
Omniverse and virtual worlds are already here.
The Metaverse is the 3D evolution of the Internet – the extension of physical and virtual worlds. Extended reality experiences are just one example of a virtual world experience, but it’s not the full scope.
We now have the technology to create true-to-life digital twins of the physical world and this new evolution of the web will be much larger than the physical world because like the web almost every industry will benefit from participating and hosting virtual worlds. Creators will make more things for virtual worlds than for the physical world, companies will build myriad digital twins of products, environments and spaces – from the object scale to the planetary scale.
Simulation offers tremendous opportunities for all companies as projects are virtually simulated thousands of times before they are actually produced to save costs and waste and increase operational efficiency and accuracy. Omniverse is a technology layer focused on connecting and building physically accurate virtual worlds, or “digital twins,” to help solve the world’s toughest engineering, energy, and scientific problems.
How will the metaverse solve some of our real-world problems?
The next era of industries and AI is enabled by the Metaverse – these interoperable virtual worlds.
For one thing, 3D workflows are essential for every industry today. All things designed and built by humans are typically first built in a virtual world. Bikes, cars, bridges, factories are all designed using various CAD tools before being built in the physical world.
Physically accurate and extremely fast simulation in a virtual world is the key to designing the best and most efficient products. We can quickly test many iterations of a design in the virtual world at a fraction of the cost it would take to create it in the real world.
Once the digital version of the product is complete, it will be converted into its physical counterpart. In most cases, this is the end of the road for the digital version today.
But if we connect the two manifestations – digital and real – they can evolve together. We can collect data from the real world via IoT sensors and devices and feed it into the digital model, keeping the “twins” in sync.
Applying an accurate physical simulation to the digital twin gives us incredible superpowers. We can teleport to any part of the digital twin like in a video game and inspect every aspect of it that is reflected in the real world.
We can also run simulations to predict the near future or test many possible futures to choose the optimal one.
There will be a bigger market, a bigger industry with more designers and creators building digital things in virtual worlds than there will be in the physical world. Today, most designers focus on cars, buildings, clothing, and shoes of the physical world. All of these things will be many times larger in virtual worlds – this is the next evolution of the web.
Just like the Internet, virtual worlds will spawn many new economies that are larger than our current physical economy. The economy in the metaverse will be many times larger than that in the physical world. Digital currencies are used in these virtual worlds where we own property, houses, cars, art, clothes and more.