Augmented Reality (AR) and mixed Reality (MR) are considered immersive technologies and are often characterized as the same thing, but they’re not. Mixed Reality is seen as an augmented reality extension but is more akin to the next stage.
Imagine a scale; at one end, you have Reality; at the other, you have virtual Reality (VR). AR would be closer to Reality on that scale, and MR would be closer to virtual Reality.
Let’s look at the two to understand how they differ.
What is AR?
Virtual information is layered over the actual environment via a screen in AR, yet the experience is not immersive. Digital elements such as images, texts, and animation enhance the real world the user is experiencing.
Most people were exposed to AR using their mobile phones, whether through the popular gaming app Pokémon GO or the face filters on Instagram and Snapchat. While there are the most common uses, there are many, many other avenues that utilize AR technology.
Healthcare, aviation, and the automotive industry are all sectors exploring new ways augmented Reality can support operations. The retail sector has embraced it wholeheartedly, with “try before you buy” options on many clothing, makeup, and furniture brand websites.
AR is undergoing a real boost in everyday use cases as people realize its value as part of the online experience.
What is MR?
Mixed reality technology lets real and virtual world elements interact. And the user can interact with the virtual elements just as they would the real-world ones.
Mixed Reality contains real-world elements and is not considered a fully immersive experience. In a mixed reality environment, whatever you experience in the virtual world will react the same way as in the real world. For example, you can pick up an object, open a door, touch someone, etc.
Mixed Reality is gaining popularity fast; several companies like Samsung, Microsoft, and Lenovo have already designed products to support the mixed reality experience.
So, What’s the Difference?
Augmented Reality is an enhanced reality that projects computer-generated images over a user’s view of the physical world. The user perceives the real world, but the computer adds objects, information, or details that are not physically present. Mixed Reality is a relatively new technology encompassing virtual and augmented Reality. MR combines the real and virtual worlds in a more (but not entirely) immersive way so that a user can interact with and manipulate elements of both the physical and virtual worlds. MR merges the real world and the virtual world.
Examples of AR & MR
As mentioned, the most familiar example of AR is the game Pokémon GO, developed for iOS and Android devices. It uses AR to combine gaming with the real world. Another famous example is Google Glass – a voice-controlled head-mounted display set by Google to access the Internet, get directions, send text messages, take pictures, and much more.
The most prominent example of mixed Reality is the Microsoft HoloLens – a mixed-reality headset developed by Microsoft that projects 3D holograms onto the lenses to produce a realistic implementation of 3D images in the real world.
What Does the Future Hold?
Many companies are now exploring the benefits of using AR, as it is one of the most accessible forms of immersive technology to grow and invest in.
It is highly accessible to consumers and is fully integrated to work in smartphones, smart glasses, headsets, etc. However, as hardware solutions continue to evolve and develop, MR will also become a realistic option to pursue.
Many leading companies are already exploring MR. MR could create brand-new tools for collaboration, productivity, and interaction.
VR and AR can significantly improve humanity’s quality of life and work. Tech companies will release future MR solutions merging the two for the benefit of all.
Founded in 2018, ARize is an industry leader in the 3D and AR industries. Their mission is changing e-commerce, blockchain technology, and metaverse places by placing power in the hands of the creators. ARize is on a mission to bring 3D and AR capabilities to everyone, supercharging the visual experience it brings.
For more information about ARize, its products, and services, please visit https://www.arize.io or https://arize.io/contact.html.
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