Over the past several decades, Technologies have been evolving at a rapid pace, especially in the Digital world. These technical advancements have changed User Interactions and Visual Experiences to a huge extent. Nowadays, we often hear a lot of terms such as Virtual Reality(VR), Augmented Reality(AR) and Mixed Reality(MR). However, most of us can’t clearly define what these expressions mean and what are the differences among AR, VR, and MR.
In this article, I am going to explain key features as well as major differences among AR, VR, and MR.
These three technologies are used to create an immersive user experience by adding more layers of extra information into real environment that results in a stunning visual experience and providing user a better way to interact with the content and perform actions.
So, Let’s discuss each technology in detail and talk about how it helps us in today’s life. We will also evaluate the possible ways these technologies will help in the future.
It Creates a complete Virtual world that can be experienced by wearing a special device such as VR headgears, VR glasses or phone devices. Visual content is shown on display form of video or 3D virtual world simulations. It also uses various sensors such as the compass, gyroscope, GPS to provide the most realistic user experience.
For example, when a user wearing headgear turns head to look around, based on data provided various sensors it can simulate the view of the angle at which user’s head is looking at. With additional sensors we can also interact within a generated virtual environment.
Most popular example: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, The Void, VR Games.
Augmented reality is the technologies that creates and immersive user experience by adding more layers of information in real world environment with the help of device sensors such as location, orientation and camera. It also uses effects like audio, video and graphics to create more realistic and stunning visual experience. There are many software and apps already available which we can use to experience AR.
The term Augmented Reality came into existence in early 1990s when a system called as Virtual Fixtures was created at U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) by Louis Rosenberg. It was device that needed to be wear on upper body, It had two robotic arms, head gear and various sensors that were used to create an augmented world and overlay it in real world. It also allowed user to interact with augmented world objects with robotic arms of device.
With expansion in usage of smart phones which had required hardware capable to handle AR, it soon reached to common people and gained huge popularity.
Pokemon Go is one of the most loved and played game which uses this technology to show pokemons in real world environment by mixing game graphics with real world which results in more realistic game experience. Lenskart is another great example where user can try out various glasses using their website prior to buying it.
Most popular example: Pokemon Go, Lenskart, Instagram Filters, ARkit.
Mixed Reality is combination of above two technologies i.e. VR and AR. VR which creates virtual world and AR which is capable of mixing computer-generated graphics and other effect with real world. It uses these features of AR and VR and creates an environment which changes perception of human way to experiencing things and information around him.
Let’s take an example to get more idea and understanding about it. Let’s say you have an empty room, MR can create a virtual world which scales to your room size. Real world objects such as wall can be shown with different graphics like semitransparent dotted plain surface, MR can add virtual objects like home decors like sofa sets, TV, tables etc. this resultant is an environment where you can move around to experience virtual world generated, interact with virtual objects and by keeping characteristics of real world too.
Big companies are working on creating devices with help of this technology to bring a unique visual experience to end users.
Microsoft developed a device called as HoloLens which is a head-mounted display. The HoloLens features an inertial measurement unit (IMU) (which includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a magnetometer), environment understanding sensors, camera and light sensors. Together, these will create a immersive visually appealing and more realistic view.
Most popular example: Magic Leap, HoloLens.
What’s the difference between:
Difference between VR and AR:
VR creates fully virtual world. It has no relationship with real world environment, where as AR super-impose virtual world with real world in which virtual world objects can interact with real world objects.
Difference between VR and MR:
MR has features of both AR and VR hence, it can create virtual world and merge it with real world where two worlds co-exists in resultant view bring more information and interaction for end users. On the other hand, VR cannot augment virtual object into real world and interact.
Difference between AR and MR:
AR relies on real world environment to super impose its virtual objects and does not create its own complete virtual environment, where as MR has both.
|Technology||Virtual Content||Real Content||Interactivity|
|Virtual Reality (VR)||High||Low||Middle|
|Augmented Reality (AR)||Low||High||Middle|
|Mixed Reality (MR)||Middle||High||High|
Future of VR, AR and MR Market.
These are revolutionary technologies and has ability to change our perception on information technology and the way we use data. It can take the way of interaction to a different next level where we can represent data and information in a different new dimension and can complete change the way user interacts with information. For example, user can walk around and with sun glasses integrated with these technologies can provide information of what user is looking at on his screen. By proper research and development into these areas, it can power to bring fictional tech that we see in movies to real life in coming future. These technologies can prove helpful in many fields such as Military, Architecture, Commerce, Entertainment, Medical, Retail, Transportation and so on.