VR, AR, MR … Do you know the difference?
VR, AR, and MR are abbreviations recently often coming up in the media. Articles are being published about new projects created in these technologies. What exactly do these abbreviations stand for and what are the essential differences between them?
VR (Virtual Reality)
The term Virtual Reality covers all technologies generating an entirely artificial environment. It includes images, sounds, and sometimes even touch and smell.
An example of such technology is the Oculus Rift. This device was bought in March 2014 by Facebook. It is a virtual reality helmet which shows the user two different images in the two lenses. It allows you to take in an artificial environment in a way very similar to the way your eyes work. You can “play” with the Oculus already at the level of simulation. It allows you to visit beautiful places on Earth or ride a roller coaster.
VR projects are most often used in the video game industry because they allow for total “immersion” in the world created by their authors. In this type of solutions, interaction with the designed environment is also used.
- Virtual Forbidden City
- Google Earth VR
AR (Augmented Reality)
Augmented Reality is a set of technologies combining virtual and real worlds. 3D visualizations are usually superimposed on the actual image. An essential feature of AR is that the artificial elements used are static. The user is unable to interact with them.
An example of such technology is the Google Glass – controversial AR glasses created by Google. From their level, the user gets access to such functions as a camera, search engine or checking e-mails. They are voice controlled. Their use has been banned in many places, such as cafes and pubs because of the privacy of other people present.
Augmented reality technologies are used in industries such as, for example, medicine because they allow displaying patient data in real time.
MR (Mixed Reality)
The buzzword of the recent months, however, is the mixed reality. Sometimes it is also called hybrid reality. It is easy to confuse MR and AR because both these technologies combine real images with those created using the computer. The primary difference between them is that can use them in creating mock-ups of cars. They can also be used in the video game industry, while architects can use them to visualize interiors.
- Minecraft on HoloLens (demo)
- VSI – HoloLens solution targeted to surgeons. Can be used before, during and after the surgeries, as well as to educational purposes.
VR, AR, MR – what is the easiest way to understand the differences?
The basic concept in distinguishing between those types of technologies is the level of “immersion” of the user. This term describes the scale in which the different senses are “deceived” by technology. And so, you can say that VR projects are the most immersive, MR medium and AR are the least immersive.
The second important category is interactivity. While augmented reality technologies are the least interactive, virtual and mixed reality can impact the user much stronger.
- On 03/03/2017