When it comes to naming and imagining the future, science fiction loves a form. There are the rings from the first-person shooter classic gloriolethe twisted labyrinth of the 90’s cult film The cubethe monolith inside 2001: A Space Odyssey. And where science fiction dreams, the pioneers of today’s metaverses follow.
Enter the Ørb of a futuristic technology company  (pronounced zero), a digital vehicle designed to fluidly transport its owner between metaverses — “interoperability” in jargon. The purpose of the vehicle? To become a social space that offers immersive, high-fidelity content. In what the founders describe as a beta release, the first 2,500 Ørbs, minted as NFTs, fell via ’s website on November 12.
Of course, the Ørb takes some cues from sci-fi and melds the interspatial travel qualities of Doctor Who‘s Tardis with the visual experience of star trekholodeck of . “We’re rising from cyberpunk,” said Krista Kim, founder of . Designed by luxury car designer Alex Dang, the exterior looks like the world’s most stylish shoehorn or kazoo. Inside, it’s a space of light and openness, perhaps a nod to the art of Kim, a star of the digital creative scene.
In 2020, Kim created Mars House, an immersive space of soft lights and ethereal furniture suspended over a fiery backdrop. Often billed as the first NFT home and accessible in virtual reality, it was sold on SuperRare for 288 ETH last year. Ørb takes the idea of Mars House as a distinct, navigable and highly designed space, fills it with functionality and connects it to the metaverse. (One of Kim’s digital installations, part of her “Continuum” series, was also recently acquired by LACMA.)
“Ørb is the first system where people can see and share 360-degree content and have a social experience,” Kim told Artnet News. “This is the next generation of artistic expression. We believe in presenting education, health and wellness, and art experiences in immersive 3D spaces.”
Interoperability is key, not only as an ideological resistance to the siled nature of Web2, but also because each metaverse has distinct advantages and disadvantages. “There is no metaverse that can do everything. HyperFi has great lighting effects and on-the-fly motion, Spatial is good if you want productivity tools, Mona is for world building,” said Benny Or, Creative Director of which refers to a set of existing virtual worlds.
But with hundreds of metaverses, many launched in the past year alone, integrating Ørb is a significant obstacle. “It’s a lot of work,” Or said. “We’ve partnered with the Museum of Crypto Art to try to make Ørb consistent and beautiful in as many metaverses as possible.”
Then there is the question of content. Aside from Kim’s immersive environment airdropped to early Ørb owners and users’ own 360-degree videos to upload, the kind of immersive experiences ’s team enthusiastically describes is currently in short supply. The plan, according to CEO Peter Martin, is twofold: digging up archived 360-degree content and commissioning new pieces from leading digital artists — all of which will be coined NFTs.
“So much great content has been created since 2015. It’s sitting on people’s hard drives and millions have been spent on it,” Martin told Artnet News, citing virtual reality posts from the likes of the New York Times, the Venice Film Festival, Life Magazine, and the short-lived New Frontier Sundance programming largely inaccessible to the public today. “We want to start breathing new life into this IP.”
When it comes to new content, Martin cites Superblue, the Pace Gallery venture that hosts huge immersive works by contemporary artists from around the world, as a key inspiration. “Right now is all the art you can experience [in metaverses] is 2D art in a specialized environment. We want to do what Superblue did in physical space and bring our favorite artists through our system.” Other spaces that are currently popular with artists, like Decentraland and Sandbox, can’t display immersive content in high-fidelity, Martin added .
In Martin, a creative with 20 years of industry experience, and Christy MacLear, another founder who was COO of Superblue,  certainly has the influence and connections to bring unique, quality art content to Ørb. However, developing the technical aspects of the vehicle and the rapid growth of its user base may prove more difficult.
Although it has started testing in virtual reality, Ørb remains web-based for now, a system that can be navigated using the arrow keys and WASD controls familiar to old-school gamers. In fact, much of Ørb’s promise remains just that: developments to be launched in the first quarter of 2023 and beyond. Features for “the near future”, like ’s site includes holographic concerts and forums, customizable skins, and multiplayer functionality to name a few.
“We need to test the system on the road to build momentum,” said Martin, explaining the rationale for the beta release. “We want feedback and everyone wants to see how it fares in the wild. The fully-fledged project will not be realized until next year.”
On the user side, Ørb hopes to welcome as many people as possible by becoming something similar to PlayStation or Xbox for immersive content. And at 0.33 ETH, Ørb is selling at a price consistent with claims of not wanting to create artificial scarcity. audience growth,  is adamant, will arrive with the popularization of augmented reality wearables.
“We’re future-proof,” Kim said. “In five years, the world will change after AR glasses are launched en masse. We know these technologies are evolving and their adoption will only accelerate.”
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