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Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR) are all terms that are used to describe different types of immersive experiences and are changing the way we interact with the world around us. While they are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between them.
Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital information on top of the real world – it overlays computer-generated images, text, and other data onto a user’s view of the real world. This can be done through a variety of devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and headsets. It can also be used in head-mounted displays (HMDs). AR is often used for gaming, education, and training. For example, you can use AR to see how a piece of furniture would look in your living room before you buy it, or to learn about different historical landmarks. To use AR on your smartphone or tablet, you need to install an AR app on the device, and here are the best AR apps for Android for your reference.
Virtual reality (VR) immerses the user in a completely virtual world. This is done through the use of a headset (HMD) that blocks out the real world and displays a virtual environment. VR is often used for gaming, entertainment, and training. For example, you can use VR to play a game that allows you to explore a different planet, or to train for a job that requires you to operate machinery in a dangerous environment.
Mixed reality (MR) combines AR and VR. This means that users can see both the real world and the virtual world at the same time. MR is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to be used for a variety of applications, such as gaming, education, and training. For example, you could use MR to see how a piece of furniture would look in your living room before you buy it, or to learn about different historical landmarks in a more immersive way.
Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term that encompasses all technologies that enhance or replace our view of the world, including AR, VR, and MR. XR is a rapidly growing field with the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.
Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between AR, VR, MR, and XR:
|Definition||Overlays digital information onto the real world||Creates a simulated environment that users can interact with||Combines AR and VR||Umbrella term for AR, VR, and MR|
|Examples||Pokémon Go, Google Maps||Beat Saber, Half-Life: Alyx||Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap One||Pokémon Go, Google Maps, Beat Saber, Half-Life: Alyx, Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap One|
|Potential applications||Information, entertainment, education||Entertainment, training, education||Training, education, entertainment||Information, entertainment, training, education|
|Technology||Head-mounted display (HMD), smartphone, tablet||HMD||HMD||HMD, smartphone, tablet|
|Stage of development||Mature||Emerging||Emerging||Rapidly growing|
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