What’s the difference between AR, VR and MR?
AR, VR and MR are terms that are thrown around a lot these days, with XR or ‘Extended Reality’ as the collective noun that ties the bunch together. But what’s the difference between these terms, and what do they seek to achieve? A short explainer.
VR or virtual reality refers to an experience where you are completely immersed in a computer-simulated reality. The goal is to create an imaginary world in which, ideally, all five senses are stimulated. This, of course, is not always possible: most VR headsets today only engage hearing and vision and, to a lesser degree, haptics (touch).
AR or augmented reality provides a live view of the world around you but supplements it with additional information in real time. This information can take the form of pictures, graphics, videos and text. In essence, it adds a layer to reality. A common example is the AR game Pokémon Go, or GPS data that is projected onto the windshield of your car.
MR or mixed reality merges the virtual and the real worlds through simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). This allows both environments to interact with each other. Think: making a digital ball bounce off a real wall, or – why not – placing a digital piece of equipment in a brick-and-mortar production hall.