Red Wing Shoes wants virtual homes designed in Roblox to become real homes

This is a tiny home designed in Roblox.

Talk about moving from the metaverse to real life. 

Red Wing Shoes is launching the Builders Exchange Program so that people can design “tiny houses” in the virtual world of Roblox that could become actual homes in the real world.

For every five skilled trades workers leaving the industry, only one is joining. But Red Wing Shoes figured out people are building but not in the traditional way we all think about; millions of young people are building in the virtual world in places like Roblox.

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Honda and Sony Join Forces to Create EVs to Take You to the Metaverse

By 2026, Sony Honda Mobility will produce EVs that have at least some self-driving capability and will be packed with Sony content.

By Emily Dreibelbis

Honda is prepping to release its first electric SUV in 2024, in partnership with GM, but it’s also now teaming up with Sony on entertainment-focused EVs that will hit the market in 2026.

Sony, which gave us the Walkman, PlayStation, and films like Spider Man, Jumanji, and The Karate Kid, will have an equal, 50% stake in the newly formed Sony Honda Mobility Inc. (SHM)(Opens in a new window). 

“SHM aims to evolve the mobility space into the entertainment and emotional space, by seamlessly integrating real and virtual worlds, and exploring new entertainment possibilities through digital innovations such as the metaverse,” Honda says. 

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Into the metaverse: How conversational AI will build its experiential foundation

By Raj Koneru

The much-hyped metaverse concept — once thought of as a futuristic, hypothetical online destination — is quickly becoming a new kind of internet. As more users interact with one another in these virtual environments, brands will realize new opportunities for engaging their target audiences. Companies such as Meta (formerly Facebook) are rapidly making plans to expand into the metaverse, altering and advancing how people will work, socialize, shop and even bank in the future. 

While some completely disagree with the positive potential of this digital world, it cannot be refuted that the metaverse is a topic that many have heard of and will become increasingly ubiquitous. Gaming may be its most obvious initial use case, as consumers and gamers alike are steadily continuing to merge their physical and digital lives. This is something that’s been happening since the arrival of the iPhone, a device that has become an extension of our brains and bodies. As technology progresses and advances, it’s only natural that more parts of our lives will be embedded into the digital world. 

With more people opting to “live” inside the metaverse, there will be routine tasks that require more advanced and intuitive communication. Be it mailing a letter, purchasing land or buying a burger, there must be a proper way to scale communications through artificial intelligence. Technologies like CAIP (conversational AI platforms) will allow brands to design more appealing and engaging user experiences in this burgeoning virtual environment.

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Europe wants to shape the future of virtual worlds with rules and taxes

By Natasha Lomas

EU lawmakers are moving in on the metaverse and making it plain that, whatever newfangled virtual world/s and/or immersive social connectivity that tech industry hype involving the term may refer to, these next-gen virtual spaces won’t escape one hard reality: Regulation.

There may be a second metaverse certainty too, if the Commission gets its way: Network infrastructure taxes.

The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, said today it believes some of the profits made in an increasingly immersive software realm should flow to providers of the network backbone required to host these virtual spaces — a suggestion that’s sure to trigger a fresh round of net neutrality pearl-clutching.

The Commission has been signalling for some months that it wants to find a way to support mobile operators to expand rollouts of next-gen cellular technologies — via imposing some kind of a levy on U.S. tech giants to help fund European network infrastructure — following heavy lobbying by local telcos.

Last week, Breton revealed it plans to consult on network infrastructure cost contribution ideas in Q1 next year — as part of a wider metaverse-focused initiative, with the latter proposal coming later in the year.

More details of the bloc’s thinking on fostering development of virtual spaces and the network pipes needed to connect them has emerged today.

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3 Aspects of the Real Estate Industry That Can Benefit Immensely from the Metaverse

As mainstream adoption grows people are finding more use cases for business within the digital realm. 

By Anthony Georgiades

The metaverse is already providing us with a wealth of new experiences and has spurred limitless speculation around the many avenues for its future expansion. These possibilities — which are beginning to appear infinite — are enjoyable and sometimes even practical for consumers, meaning they have the potential to be extremely lucrative for the businesses implementing them.

While current interactions and excitement around the metaverse fall heavily on realistic fashion shows, concerts and immersive video games, there are various applications that go beyond pure entertainment.

The deep value of the metaverse lies in the pragmatic applications it can power. In a globalized world where distributed work and communication is on the rise, metaverse applications allow users to engage with one another remotely in a far more collaborative and interactive setting. It removes the need for tedious obligations and offers more practical, efficient alternatives to in-person tasks, which sometimes require long wait times or long-distance travel.

From the perspective of realistic use cases for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, the real estate industry in particular stands to benefit immensely from the metaverse. From breaking ground on the construction of a new home to its reselling years later, the metaverse and its immersive architecture can have a major impact. Here’s how:

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Ford is all set to make a grand entry into the Metaverse with virtual automobiles and NFTs

After Hyundai Motors, Ford intends to create downloadable media elements featuring its goods and services

By Shashank Bhardwaj

American automobile giant Ford Motor Company is all set to make a grand entry into the Metaverse and Web 3.0. On September 2, the vehicle brand filed for 19 trademarks related to the crypto space with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). According to USPTO licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, the company has filed trademark applications for all of its major brands ‘claiming plans for virtual cars, trucks, vans, and clothing.’ 

On September 7, Kondoudis took his official Twitter handle to say, “🚨🚨FORD is making a big move into the Metaverse! The company has filed 19 trademark applications for all of its major brands claiming plans for:

 ▶️ Virtual cars, trucks, vans, and clothing

 ▶️ Online stores for NFTs

The car manufacturer intends to create downloadable artwork, text, audio, and video featuring its cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans, according to the USPTO. NFTs will authenticate all of these. The 19 applications include the FORD, F-150 LIGHTNING, MUSTANG, LIGHTNING, MUSTANG MACH-E, BRONCO, TRANSIT, ESCAPE, etc. 

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How will the metaverse shape the future of the automotive industry?

Katrin Zimmermann explores how automotive companies can prepare for long-term success in a web3 world

Last month, Mercedes-Benz sold a very rare 1955 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for US$142m, making it the most expensive car in history. Someday, that record too will fall, and it’s reasonable to ask whether it will be broken by a physical or digital mobility design object.

It’s no secret that the metaverse and web3 are on their way, taking early shape now and on course to influence all industries—including the automotive sector. According to a whitepaper by JP Morgan, which recently opened a bank in the metaverse known as Onyx Lounge, “the metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over US$1tr in yearly revenues.” NFT sales alone eclipsed US$17.7bn in 2021.

The influence of the metaverse, and web3 more broadly, stand to impact all facets of the auto industry, including manufacturing, product customisation, community, and brand loyalty. Additionally, these technologies will enable a myriad of new opportunities for the digital and physical worlds to converge. Even grander still, such shifts will bring to the fore existential questions on where responsibilities lie between individuals, the auto sector, and web3 developers when it comes to sustainability and ethical operations.

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Why metaverse platforms are gamifying their virtual real estate to attract customers

By Alexander Lee

This article is part of a 10-piece Digiday series that explores the value of NFTs and blockchain technology.

Some of today’s leading metaverse platforms have made millions of dollars selling virtual land — but they’re still figuring out how to get users to spend time on their digital property.

There are numerous brokers of virtual land, but a group of prominent digital real estate companies has emerged — Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium Space and Cryptovoxels— which Web3 observers have dubbed “the Big Four.”

Until now, virtual real estate has largely been treated as a financial asset, but recent trends in the crypto market indicate that this use case might not be sufficient: As crypto markets continue to crash, the average price of virtual land NFTs in both The Sandbox and Decentraland has dropped by thousands of dollars in recent months. To stop the bleed, both metaverse executives and virtual land investors are becoming increasingly aware of the need to add tangible utility to their digital property, either through gamification, community-building or a combination of the two.

Each prominent virtual land platform operates a digital world consisting of a set number of land parcels — for example, Decentraland has 90,000, The Sandbox has a total of 166,464 — with each parcel acting as a non-fungible token (NFT) that can be bought and sold on the open market. At the time of this article’s writing, the floor price for a parcel of Decentraland land is 2.1 ETH, or approximately $3,400; in The Sandbox, it’s 1.88 ETH, or $3,000. Parcels range in price depending on their size and location.

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Medicine and the metaverse: New tech allows doctors to travel inside of your body

The world of technology is rapidly shifting from flat media viewed in the third person to immersive media experienced in the first person. Recently dubbed “the metaverse,” this major transition in mainstream computing has ignited a new wave of excitement over the core technologies of virtual and augmented reality. But there is a third technology area known as telepresence that is often overlooked but will become an important part of the metaverse.

While virtual reality brings users into simulated worlds, telepresence (also called telerobotics) uses remote robots to bring users to distant places, giving them the ability to look around and perform complex tasks.  This concept goes back to science fiction of the 1940s and a seminal short story by Robert A. Heinlein entitled Waldo.  If we combine that concept with another classic sci-fi tale, Fantastic Voyage (1966), we can imagine tiny robotic vessels that go inside the body and swim around under the control of doctors who diagnose patients from the inside, and even perform surgical tasks.

I know that sounds like pure fiction, but a startup company in Hayward California has recently “flown” a tiny robot inside the digestive track of human subjects. The company is Endiatx, and I had a chance to discuss their technology and vision with CEO Torrey Smith.  As a technologist who has been involved in telepresence research from the early days, I was impressed with the progress Endiatx has made. But before I get into that, let’s jump back in time a few decades and provide some context as to why their breakthrough strikes me as such an unexpected advancement.   

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MetaMundo Launches Pioneering 3D Marketplace for the Metaverse

MetaMundo has launched the first 3D marketplace for collecting metaverse scenes and assets.

By Max Antony Rapkin

Scenes such as 3D galleries, villas, music venues, parks, avatars and vehicles will be sold as NFTs on the marketplace by leading artists, architects, and designers.

Crucially, all 3D NFTs on the marketplace will be compatible with multiple metaverse platforms, such as The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland and Spatial.

“MetaMundo’s vision is to facilitate a beautifully designed, interoperable, and open metaverse – an immersive 3D social internet, where everyone can own and build parts of it through blockchain technology. The marketplace launch is our first major step towards realizing this vision,” said Finn Hansen, co-founder of MetaMundo. “For the first time, we have enabled metaverse users to collect high-quality 3D scenes—minted as NFTs—for use across many virtual environments.

Now, users can visit the marketplace and enjoy an immersive exploration of two scenes built by leading 3D creators Dutchtide, and the American modernist architect Luis Fernandez.

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Meta’s latest VR headset prototypes could help it pass the ‘Visual Turing test’

They’re focusing on delivering HDR, higher resolution screens and more to make VR truly realistic.

By D. Hardawar@devindra

Meta wants to make it clear it’s not giving up on high-end VR experiences yet. So, in a rare move, the company is spilling the beans on several VR headset prototypes at once. The goal, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to eventually craft something that could pass the “visual Turing Test,” or the point where virtual reality is practically indistinguishable from the real world. That’s the Holy Grail for VR enthusiasts, but for Meta’s critics, it’s another troubling sign that the company wants to own reality (even if Zuckerberg says he doesn’t want to completely own the metaverse).

As explained by Zuckerberg and Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist of Meta’s Reality Labs, creating the perfect VR headset involves perfecting four basic concepts. First, they need to reach a high resolution so you can have 20/20 VR vision (with no need for prescription glasses). Additionally, headsets need variable focal depth and eye tracking, so you can easily focus on nearby and far away objects; as well as fix optical distortions inherent in current lenses. (We’ve seen this tech in the Half Dome prototypes.) Finally, Meta needs to bring HDR, or high dynamic range, into headsets to deliver more realistic brightness, shadows and color depth. More so than resolution, HDR is a major reason why modern TVs and computer monitors look better than LCDs from a decade ago.

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