Deal between UK start-up and Google aim to revolutionise the way we create virtual worlds

Signal of change / Deal between UK start-up and Google aim to revolutionise the way we create virtual worlds

By George Armour / 13 Feb 2017
UK-based tech start-up Improbable has teamed up with Google to promote its software, known as ‘SpatialOS’, that could facilitate the development of next generation virtual worlds. Created by two Cambridge graduates, this cloud-based platform allows programmers to use a network of multiple engines and servers to run seamless virtual worlds. Unlike traditional single-server simulations, this diffuse computing architecture is capable of handling extremely heavy tasks that will allow developers to achieve an unprecedented level of graphics, detail and complexity in the worlds they create. The Google Cloud Platform will be used to power the service as the company has given qualified coders subsidised access to its service for the Beta that launches this year.

So what?

Although the founders of SpatialOS are keen to stress that the platform was developed principally for gaming, its ability to simulate complex systems holds a great deal of promise for any field that makes use of digital visualisations. Researchers are already making use of virtual worlds to train AI systems in performing a wide range of tasks and would keenly welcome the ability to create more complex simulations. Indeed, this is beginning already as a UK start-up called Immense Simulations is using the platform to model entire cities in great detail and scale in order to understand the future impact of autonomous vehicles. From medicine to robotics, this new way of building virtual worlds has the potential to further a great many fields of research.


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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