IBM engineer says AR will trump VR for data visualization

It turns out blocking out the world isn't great for work

When it comes to enterprise data visualization, IBM Software Engineer Rosstin Murphy thinks augmented reality trumps virtual reality. In his view, VR's "transportational" nature makes it less suited to business applications.

"It takes you and it sends you to the moon, or to outer space or to or an alien planet," he said. "But augmented reality is transformational. It will transform the world you're already in, and for a business context, that's exactly what you want."

Murphy pointed out during a talk at the Virtual Reality Developers Conference in San Francisco that AR headsets let users continue to interact with the objects on their desks, like keyboards and phones. That's important for people who want to get work done while reaping the benefits of new hardware like the Microsoft HoloLens.

That's important to note as Microsoft, HTC, Oculus and others compete to offer enterprises useful new 3D tools. Visualizing data in three dimensions is incredibly powerful for researchers, and AR will be the most helpful, Murphy said.

He's working on building software that takes data from IBM's analysis tools and lets users visualize it in three dimensions. Murphy started his data visualization work in virtual reality but moved over to the HoloLens under the guidance of management.

"As reluctant as I was to start with the HoloLens, once I actually started working with it, I was really impressed," he said.

Using AR for data visualization lets researchers and other users interact with data in a third dimension. It's a shift that he said would be important for analyzing complex datasets that people are currently stuck with viewing in two dimensions.

One example that he shared was a graph of data from the MNIST database, which is used to test the ability of computer vision systems to analyze handwriting. In 2D, it looked like a tangled blob, and some relationships between data points were obscured altogether. Viewing the same graph in 3D made it possible to understand which nodes connect with one another.

There are still pitfalls that need to be worked out. Murphy said he can only wear a HoloLens for around 3-4 hours a day before his neck starts to hurt. The device's field of view remains a frustration, and he finds the device uncomfortable with his glasses. But Murphy is hopeful about the potential for the HoloLens, especially when it comes to Microsoft's long-term investment in the device.

In the future, he thinks we'll be surprised by how we got by without 3D visualization. He's also looking forward to a new class of data visualizations that will be designed to take advantage of AR.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags augmented realityVR

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?