Unless you are familiar or have experience with one of the realities you must be confused with what is the difference between virtual, augmented, mixed, or extended. More importantly why should you care about all these realities. According to a study done by PWC, an estimated 23.5 million jobs worldwide will use augmented and virtual reality by 2030. These realities are not a sector for gaming specifically but part of the future of our daily life.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality might be the easiest to explain and understand of all the realities. Virtual Reality is a completely digital environment where everything is simulated, and you guessed it virtual. In VR users are fully enclosed in a synthetic experience with no sense of the real world. Examples include video games like Sims, Minecraft, or Fortnite where everything is a computer-simulated reality. As users are fully immersive in virtual reality, users feel like they are in the environment they are in. This may cause some side effects such as headaches, eye strain, dizziness, and nausea. Overall, the main use of virtual reality is gaming however the business side is catching up. Companies are using virtual reality to supplement traditional training in hazardous areas.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is the second most known reality. AR is a live video or feed of the real world that features elements of computer-generated input such as sound, video, or graphic. AR is often explained as the real world with digital information overlay. The real world remains central to the experience and is enhanced by virtual elements. The most popular use case that most people know of and where augmented reality started to boom is Pokémon. Now you cannot scroll past a Snapchat or Instagram story without a filter that utilizes augmented reality.
What is Mixed Reality?
Mixed Reality is often described as virtual reality merged with augmented reality or where the real and the virtual are intertwine. This means users interact with and manipulate both the physical and the virtual environment. The ability for both the virtual and real world to interact allows for powerful capabilities. Users can move holograms where they want and interact with them like never before. The leading headset and pioneer of mixed reality is the Microsoft HoloLens. While not as popular as the two other realities mixed reality is gaining popularity.
What is Extended Reality?
Extended Reality is the terminology for all these new realities. When you use the term XR or talk about it you are referring to VR, AR, and MR. XR is the umbrella for all the three realities. The purpose of this term is to reduce confusion for the public.