Mixed reality continues to march towards becoming mainstream for consumers and businesses. As this happens, Mixed Reality can enhance user experiences through adaptive interfaces. These interfaces can learn about user behavior and create relatively intuitive experiences, which make daily lives easier in every aspect.

Understanding Mixed Reality in Adaptive Interfaces

Adaptive interfaces in mixed reality are systems that personalize and optimize user interactions. These interfaces leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and contextual data to understand user preferences and behavior. Doing so allows them to adjust layouts, workflows and recommendations in real time.

Key features of adaptive MR interfaces include:

  • Context-awareness: Recognizes the user’s intent and environment through interfaces, adjusting their behavior accordingly.
  • Personalization: Ensures the interface aligns with individual preferences and task requirements.
  • Persistence: Maintains consistent information across devices and sessions.

Natural interaction methods like voice commands, gesture recognition, and haptic feedback enhance these interactions. Together, they enable MR environments to provide seamless and effective digital experiences.

Brief History of Adaptive Interfaces

Adaptive interfaces date back to the 1980s when rule-based systems allowed users to configure basic settings manually. By the 1990s, researchers used statistical models to predict user preferences, giving rise to adaptive user interfaces. This period also saw cognitive task analysis, influencing how interfaces adjusted to workflows based on user skill levels.

In the 2010s, machine learning propelled adaptive interfaces forward. Context-aware computing and natural interaction methods — like voice recognition and gesture control — became increasingly popular. As mixed reality emerged in the late 2010s, adaptive interfaces expanded their capabilities, offering immersive personalization. Now powered by AI and deep learning, these systems analyze user behavior and environmental context. As a result, mixed reality environments provide unparalleled relevance and personalized experience.

Use Cases for Adaptive Interfaces

The following use cases are prime examples of how companies are implementing adaptive interfaces in mixed reality.

IKEA Place Replaces Old Furniture Using AR

IKEA’s Place app is a virtual design tool that uses MR and adaptive interfaces to enhance the shopping experience. With its use of augmented reality, the app allows customers to visualize how furniture and decor would look in their homes.

By swiping a finger, users can erase their furniture and replace them with different products to see how they look in real-life settings. They can also receive personalized product recommendations based on their past behavior and room dimensions.

In an industry where 78 percent of retailers struggle to provide a cohesive brand experience across channels, IKEA’s app stands out in an immersive way. Its adaptive interface helps customers make confident buying decisions and enhances brand consistency. By offering a unified experience across devices, the app is a great example of how adaptive MR can help retailers meet changing customer expectations.

MIT Developed a Smart Glove to Teach Physical Skills

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) researchers developed a smart glove showcasing adaptive interfaces’ power in mixed reality. The glove comes with 23 embroidered haptic units across the inner hand. It then uses AI to deliver tactile feedback and guide users in learning new skills. By interpreting the vibrations from these units, users can identify the specific haptic patterns with an accuracy of 94 percent.

This accuracy allows the smart glove to provide precise instructions, enabling users to master tasks like piano playing or improving robot teleoperation. The glove’s machine-learning agent personalizes the feedback in real time. It is similar to how smartphones provide haptic responses when triggered with a tap on the touch screen. The smart glove’s ability to adapt to hand motions can teach the user new physical skills.

Recent Advancements in Adaptive Interfaces

Adaptive interfaces have greatly improved mixed reality experiences by enhancing personalization, context awareness and natural interactions. For example, the semantic web enables interfaces to understand the relationships between different content, allowing for more personalized information delivery. An example includes customized news feeds based on a user’s history. In health care, hospitals employ adaptive interfaces to visualize patient-specific anatomy. Surgeons can manipulate 3D models of organs and blood vessels, with the system adjusting layouts and highlighting critical areas based on the surgical procedure.

Natural interactions have also advanced. For instance, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 employs eye-tracking and voice commands to deliver hands-free interactions. Advancements like these ensure interfaces deliver immersive, user-centric experiences through various technologies.

The Future of Adaptive Interfaces in Mixed Reality

Adaptive interfaces in MR environments are changing how people interact with digital content, offering highly personalized experiences. They have the potential to enhance workflows, improve skill acquisition, and make shopping seamless. As advancements continue to evolve, adaptive interfaces will become essential tools for creating more immersive experiences in AR and VR.

Eleanor Hecks is Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine where she specializes in design, development and UX topics. Follow Designerly on X @Designerlymag.

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