What is it?
The Alloverse is Gibson style Cyberspace, but for your day-to-day work and play, with your friends and colleagues. It’s a VR and AR platform for creating collaborative workspaces, and for running real applications within those spaces, together with other people. You can say it’s an “operating system” for collaborative workspaces in 3D (AR and VR).
The big difference from regular “social VR” apps is that the Alloverse is an open platform that provides a networked application API, where apps can connect to Places on the same terms as users. Places then become workspaces where you can run many real applications next to each other; they can connect to each other; and users can use them all collaboratively at the same time.
The Alloverse provides the infrastructure to build things like:
- Virtual classrooms. The social XR aspect of the Alloverse allows students and teachers to come together in a space. The application platform aspect of the Alloverse allows a wide variety of educational software to run concurrently and collaboratively in this space.
- Collaborative construction. By building your CAD, fashion or art creation application on top of Alloverse APIs, the app is automatically collaborative. Multiple people can work on pieces together, and you could even run multiple creation apps in orchestration to see your full creation in one go. One app could be used to create a garment, while another to create the spaces in which it will be shown off; and they’d both run at the same time.
- Pair programming. Since apps can run on any computer anywhere, you could collect programmers, IDEs, and runtime monitoring from many different servers and all over the world all into the same space: perfect for a remote organization.
- Business meetings. Bringing people and instrumentation together into dedicated spaces, saving airfare and increasing understanding.
The goal for the Alloverse is to lay the foundations for the “3D internet”: introducing a set of federated, distributed and open protocols to supercede HTTP, building a set of open source tools and applications that are compatible with those protocols, and fostering application development on top of these.
The Alloverse is also an open source work in progress. If you’re an interaction designer, programmer or visual artist interested in the frontiers of HCI, we’d love to collaborate with you!
Alloverse has three components
An Alloverse Place is like a web site in that you can have your own and visit others. It’s like a living room or office in that it has volume, can be decorated, and is a social space you can be with other people, for any purpose. Practically, you can run a Place on your own computer (but then others can’t visit when your computer is offline); you can rent a Place like you rent a website from Squarespace or WordPress; or you can run a Place on your own server.
An Alloverse Appliance is like an app on your phone or computer, except it works more like a web site: You click a link, and the appliance magically appears in your Place as a 3D object you and others in your Place can interact with. The Allonet SDK can be used from any programming language, and app developers quickly transform their 2D apps to 3D quickly, regardless if they were originally designed as desktop applications or backend components. Examples of apps are:
- a map table, presenting the real world in 3d and annotated with your plans or data
- a shape construction tool, for drawing 3d shapes
- a jukebox
- screen sharing, white board, and other 2d surface apps
The Alloverse Visor is the app you launch on your VR/AR headset or computer to connect to Places, and is the software that generates the graphics you see and interprets your gestures as you make them.
The two dimensional interface era had a good run, but after 40 years, it’s coming to an end. Within half a decade, AR headsets will replace smartphones and laptops as the de facto human-computer interface. From this, three-dimensional interfaces will replace the hard surfaces we today tap with fingers.
In this magically fascinating transition, we have a chance to make computing more humane. We can focus on collaborative work and social software; intuitive interaction; and distributed non-centralized platforms.
Alloverse is collaborative by design. No application in the Alloverse is limited to use by a single person. We’re used to “real-time collaboration” being a feature of software by giants like in Google Drive or Facebook, because it’s so difficult to build. However, Alloverse’s basic building blocks makes software collaborative by design, so that all interfaces become something you can work and play with together, with no extra coding by the developer.
Alloverse is an interaction platform based on 3D interfaces and gestural inputs. Working with data becomes as intuitive as working with physical tools.
Alloverse is distributed by design. No single company can own the Alloverse, just like no single company can own the Web. Alloverse lets you create your own places, and use software from all over the internet within them. It is not a single platform where a single entity sets the rules.