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Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality: What’s the Difference?

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  • One of the biggest doubts in the world of technology is the difference between Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (RA) and Mixed Reality (MR). All are gaining a lot of media attention and with prospects of tremendous growth. So what is the difference between them?

    VR, AR, and MR are acronyms used to describe games and simulations to allow people to feel as if they are participating in a virtual world at different levels. With such acronyms, many people are getting confused about how each one differs from the other.

    Virtual Reality (VR)

    Virtual Reality or the acronym VR basically means a computer-generated simulation, or a recreation of a real-life environment or situation that is able to lure the user into an immersive simulation. The real environment can be totally replaced by sounds and visions, giving you the feeling that you are truly present in the digital world and part of it. This technology is best exemplified by high-definition gaming consoles usually played using a headset such as HTC Vive or Google Cardboard. It gives a completely immersive experience in the virtual environment that is in complete contrast to the real.

    VR is typically obtained using a headset such as Facebook’s Oculus VR equipped with the technology, and is used prominently in two different ways:

    – To create and enhance an imaginary reality for entertainment and games (such as video and computer games or 3D movies, head-mounted display). Anyone who is curious can see the latest odds here, how today’s animations look more real than what were produced just a few years ago.

    – To enhance training for real-life environments by creating a reality simulation where people can practice beforehand (such as flight simulators for pilots).

    Augmented Reality (AR)

    When we speak of Augmented Reality, the first thing we remember is the wave of Pokemon Go, the best known illustration of AR technology implemented in the gaming application. Therefore, AR basically adds elements to a live view normally seen through the smartphone’s camera. It is a technology that compiles computer-generated improvements over an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed in applications and used on mobile devices to mix digital components in the real world so that they improve each other, but can also be separated easily.

    Mixed Reality (MR)

    MR stands for Mixed Reality, which unites the digital world and the real world to provide a whole new experience. Instead of just being added to the real world, experiments are interactive to the point where they can be used in many applications. This is the latest development in reality technologies that sometimes causes confusion, mainly because different experiences are so called. Without going deep into science, let’s examine two forms of reality that are called mixed reality:

    – Mixed reality that begins with the real world – virtual objects are not only superimposed on the real world, but can interact with it. In this case, a user remains in the real environment while digital content is added to it.

    – The mixed reality that begins with the virtual world – the digital environment is anchored and replaces the real world. In this case, a user is fully immersed in the virtual environment while the real world is locked. Sounds like virtual reality, right? In fact, yes, but digital objects overlap with real ones, while in conventional VR the virtual environment is not connected to the real world around a user.

    Hopefully this article can provide useful information for you.

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