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Samuel Tate
VR Experience Designer, PHORIA
Field of expertise: Spatial Computing Design





In the time you have been working in your field, what impossible things have become possible?

I always dreamed of having magic powers – now I can have 3D worlds and impossible creatures floating around in front of me. I can play with them with my hands, they can recognise my voice, they can see what I see. I can create something with code and have it floating in my living room in stereoscopic vision, interacting with my world. The advances in optics and computer vision mean that a digital device can deliver augmented or virtual images into my visual feed, and the device can tell its position and orientation in real time at low enough latency to tell me it is real. All the infinite potential of computing now brought to life in my living room.

What impossible thing(s) are you working towards making possible, and why?

There is a new layer of information emerging as a layer in our world, a digital twin brought to life both in virtual reality and augmented reality. Soon our streets and buildings will have historical, functional and social data at our fingertips. At PHORIA we are working to bring those layers to people’s devices – so that everyone in the world has a say and stake in the new meta-verse. By democratising access to these digital twins everyone can make their mark and share in the open flow of information.

What is an example of an impossible thing others in your field are currently working to make possible?

Our team is working to help phones understand where they are in space. When a phone uses its camera to look at the world, it can create something called a ‘point cloud’ – a set of points in space based on pixels it detects. It uses this to create a map of the space and it can then tell where it is. Our digital twin team is working to help phones recognise the space they’re in, so it can show data added previously. Imagine looking through your phone into your room and seeing all the digital notes you’d left yourself the day before.

In your field are there any things that you predict will remain impossible, and why?

Nothing is impossible – but there are limits to our understanding of intelligence and consciousness that may limit our ability to create truly intelligent systems that can aid us in our work. A future built on mixed reality is one enabled by artificial intelligence that sees the world with you, helps you make decisions and interacts with hyper complex systems on your behalf. The level of advancement to something called ‘general intelligence’, where a digital system can think and learn independently, may be out of our reach. If so it is less likely that we will have true autonomous digital assistants, but hopefully they advance enough in our lifetimes to make their assistance seamless and pleasant.

In your opinion what formerly impossible and now possible thing in your field has made or is making the largest contribution to human or planetary flourishing?

The advent of computing power – the ability to take complex decisions and cram them into the fraction of a second led to the enabling of digital communication. Now we have the ability almost to read each other’s minds across the globe. As a result we are at the beginning of an epochal change. Change in the way we relate, understand each other, make decisions and take action. Never in history has there been anything like the digital revolution, and while phones and computers probably seem like they’ve been around forever, we are only at the first blip of what it means to be this connected. As a child’s mind grows it forms more and better neural links, our species too is maturing, with more and better connections that will help us understand the world and ourselves. This is just the beginning.


Immerse yourself in the wildest places on earth and meet the humans protecting our most precious wildlife. Explore the great savannahs of Kenya, discover the ancient jungles of Borneo and dive into the rich coral reefs of Raja Ampat. Encounter elephants, orangutans, manta rays and some incredible humans, all in stunning cinematic Virtual Reality (VR).

ecosphere is a VR nature documentary series by award winning studio PHORIA. Produced in partnership with Oculus, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Silverback Films Ltd, this groundbreaking series is narrated by Emmy Award winning actress Anna Friel. More information and free download.


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