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Navigating The Reality Spectrum: Understanding VR, AR, and MR

Let’s explore this new hyped world of metaverse – Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality. Although there is a fair amount of confusion amongst these three terminologies and few consider them the same.

In this article, we will explain different types of realities such as Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Virtual Reality.

What Is Reality?  

“We have had people literally run out of the VR room, even though they know that what they are witnessing is not real” stated Mel Slater, Distinguished Scientist, and VR pioneer, at the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona. With this strong opening statement, we can have a fair idea of how strong this world is.

Have you ever been in an argument over a specific color with anyone? Did it seem black to you and deep blue to the other?  Every human being perceives the same thing with a different aspect. Humans tend to confuse reality with the actual world and fail to get the point of why virtual reality feels real even when they are fully aware of it.

What Is Virtual Reality (VR)?  

VR is an artificial environment created by a computer to give users a feel of a world that does not exist in real life. A person using a VR set will be able to look inside the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features in that world. It must be sounding like a sci-fi movie but this is what happens in VR. Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that gives a simulated experience that allows the creation of a fully immersive digital environment.

Although VR has been in existence since 1994, it is only now that such technologies are being hyped and have attracted global curiosity. This technology supports the vision of metaverse clusters by aiding in creating the 3D virtual world. The foremost advantage that comes to my mind- it gives people the chance to travel around the world, and even outer space, without having to leave the comfort of their homes since the users are placed in a virtual space with the help of a few gadgets like a headset or eyewear. In a nutshell, we can say VR is an imaginary space that independently exists from the real world.

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What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?  

This world of reality is an extension of the physical world around you, like adding digital content onto a live camera feed, making it look real. It works on a software application, for example, making you look like a giraffe by overlaying digital directions onto the physical streets around you. However, there is no interaction between the digital elements and the physical world elements.

Although AR doesn’t create an artificial environment, it uses real-time information in the form of text, graphics, audio, and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. It brings together real data and virtual data to create an augmented reality. The first AR technology was developed in 1968 but today we can see its magical wand working in every field such as gaming, education, healthcare, and manufacturing. In a nutshell, AR is an interactive experience that combines the real world and computer-generated content.

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What Is Mixed Reality (MR)?  

Unlike AR, a semi-digital experience, a fully digital experience, MR embraces its users with the best of both worlds. MR example includes Instagram filters, virtual makeup applications, and virtual furniture fittings. MR is a technological boon that allows not only the superposition of digital elements into the real environment but the users can visualize and interact with both the digital elements and the physical worlds.

MR is the hybrid reality merging both real and virtual entities to produce new environments. Below is an exhibit reflecting the outlay of a single space of all three worlds of reality.

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VR vs. AR vs. MR: What’s The Difference?

Every virtual environment is not a metaverse, and every pair of smart glasses does not provide an augmented reality experience. There is a thin line of difference between all these which is being shown in the form of an exhibit below. Since all three forms of reality revolve around two world forms- the real world and the artificial world. So let’s remove the confusion by taking its differences.

In AR the users can control their presence in the real world, while in VR the users are controlled by the computer system. VR requires a headset and eyewear equipment, but AR can be accessed with a normal smartphone.

So, only in the case of VR, the user is not aware of the real world, neither he can interact with that world in real-time, nor, both worlds (real and virtual) can interact with each other in real-time. I know it might seem quite complex initially and it must be making your head spin, but the exhibit below shall make the concepts clear.

VR is a fully immersive based digital environment. AR is a snapshot of the real world with an overlay of digital elements. MR is a view of the real world with an overlay of digital elements where physical and digital elements can interact and the users can visualize it.

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Recent advances in AI, especially deep learning, which enable real-time voice and picture recognition have aided in the integration of VR with AI for new applications. All three of these technologies will need to be taken into consideration in product design in the future. Examples of Eolian applications that use AI technology to lower human mistake rates through AR and VR simulations of risky activities are noteworthy.

Through machine learning and AI, Virtualitics offers data visualization in VR and AR settings. These days, we have access to tools that make it easier than ever to exchange information and create stories. They can be employed as highly potent emotional engagement tools that help us connect with audiences and foster empathy beyond what TV, computers, and the internet previously could.

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