JACKY TSENG, DRAM Marketing, Winbond Electronics Corp.
The metaverse is a virtual universe where people can interact with each other in a virtual world. It’s made up of countless interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play using virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) glasses, smartphones, smartphone apps or other compatible devices.
The term ‘metaverse’ was first written in a science fiction novel entitled ‘Snow Crash’ which was published in 1992. The book depicts the metaverse as a three-dimensional digital space that is highly connected to society and parallel to the real world. It’s a place where people can live, create a virtual persona, communicate, and interact with each other. Since then, the term has been referenced in a variety of movies like ‘Ready Player One’ about a video game platform where people can interact with others using 3D avatars.
The shift to Metaverse
In October 2021, Facebook officially changed its name to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg said that we’ve gone from desktops to web to mobile phones, from text messages to photos to videos, but that’s not the end. “The next platform and medium will be a more immersive and embodied internet where you experience it for yourself, not just as a spectator, and that’s the metaverse,” he said.
Meta has now launched Horizon Workrooms, a new VR conferencing software that lets users wear an Oculus Quest2 VR headset to enter a virtual meeting room and collaborate with others in the same virtual space.
In 2014, Zuckerberg acquired the VR headset company Oculus and recently announced that Meta will launch five new VR games, including a multiplayer VR game in collaboration with Vertigo Games.
Microsoft has also announced the integration of the mixed reality meeting platform Microsoft Mesh into Microsoft Teams, allowing people around the world to collaborate, meet, send messages, work on shared documents, and more through Teams, sharing holographic experiences.
Compared with the traditional online remote office, the office in the metaverse creates an immersive experience, giving the look as feel of being in the office and seeing colleagues which can greatly increase users working experience and boost morale and productivity.
Powering the Metaverse
As smart wearable devices evolve, AI capabilities will become mainstream. However, to ensure users have an immersive experience, a lot of computing is needed. Devices need to perform complex calculations, and, at the same time have strong millimetre wave data transmission capabilities, to seamlessly transmit a large amount of high-resolution image data to an AR or VR device. To do this, devices need memory.
Real-time interactions require high-bandwidth memory which is why the DRAM in mobile devices has been further developed from LPDDR4X to LPDDR5, and the data rate has been increased from 4.2Gbps to 8.5Gbps; the same is true of the server side, the memory products have been upgraded from DDR4 to DDR5, and the data rate has been increased from 3.2Gbps to 6.4Gbps. It is not difficult to see that with the increase of computing demand, people’s requirements for high-bandwidth memory are also getting higher and higher, and the industry has even discussed the possibility of in-/near-memory computing. However, in the near term, practical solutions will be required to launch the Metaverse.