Understanding Different Realities; What is AR, VR And MR
Technology has often changed the way humans have perceived the world and is expected to further challenge it in the future. The introduction of Augmented and Virtual Realities have revolutionalised different business sectors completely and have allowed for a better interaction with technology to create more immersive, engaging content. But, what do AR and VR mean? And what is the new technology that has debuted with the Microsoft Hololens, MR? Here is what these terms mean individually.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality is defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to add digital information on an image of something.” It usually interacts with the help of a camera which is used to capture details from the real world. The device from which the AR functions are used makes it possible to further enhance the experience by adding different layers to reality. Pokemon Go, a game from 2016 is a great example of AR technology being used. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat also use this technology to provide live face stickers.
Google tried pushing Augmented Reality with its Project Tango in 2014, which tried putting a dedicated camera with a spatial sense to capture depth. The Project was later shut down in 2017 because the company launched ARCore in 2018. The system used the already present hardware in a smartphone to use AR, which it debuted with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL’s Playground feature. The AR technology is expected not to only make gaming better, but also have its use in departments like architecture and fashion.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality or VR is almost the opposite of AR. Instead of using any part of the real world or interacting with it, the technology uses a completely virtual world. This is generally achieved by a headset wrapped around the head with tiny displays in front of each eye. An alternate way is to use a smartphone inside the headset to create a virtual world. The famous VR headsets currently in the market are HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Daydream View.
The various applications of Virtual Reality are also considered to be groundbreaking. Despite the obvious use in gaming, the technology may be used in the training of various professionals like doctors, pilots and in the hospitality sector. Unfortunately, the native VR functionality is considered expensive and thus may not be suited for everyone.
Mixed Reality (MR)
The Mixed Reality or MR platform was popularised by Microsoft with its Hololens and makes use of the best parts about AR and VR and combines them together. This means that the technology will make use of a camera attached to the headset worn by the user. With the camera used for augmented reality, the Virtual effect rendered will create some form of isolation from the real world. Mixed Reality is expected to take off exponentially in a few years.
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The real world case of Mixed Reality is expected to be more elaborate than both AR and VR. It is expected to be useful for industry workers and medical professionals. But, the technology is also deemed expensive in its current state and not available to everyone.