AR, VR, XR, MR - What's behind the abbreviations?
In the last few years Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Extended Reality (XR) and Mixed Reality (MR) developed into much-discussed and groundbreaking technologies. They have revolutionized the way we experience and interact with the digital world. But despite their growing popularity, there is often confusion about what exactly these terms mean and how they differ from each other. Here, we take a closer look at AR, VR, XR, and MR to clarify the differences and application areas of these fascinating technologies.
Augmented Reality (AR):
AR is a technology in which digital elements are embedded in the physical environment. Users see the real world through an AR device, such as a smartphone or AR glasses, and additional digital content, such as 3D objects, texts or animations, is overlaid in real time. A well-known example is the popular game Pokémon GO, where virtual Pokémon appear in the real world and can be caught by users. AR has a wide range of applications, from entertainment to education to industry.
With WebAR AR experiences can be played back in the smartphone browser without an app. This makes it easier for users, as there is no need to download an extra app.
Why not try one of our WebAR applications right now and see for yourself, scan the QR code and get started:
In the WebAR application for Halder, Erwin Halder presents the different hammers and shows the advantage they have over ordinary hammers.
Virtual Reality (VR):
VR is a more immersive technology where users are completely immersed in a virtual world. With the help of VR glasses or headsets, the real world is completely shielded and users are immersed in a digital environment that completely surrounds them. This technology creates an immersive experience where users feel like they are physically in another world. VR is widely used for gaming, simulations, virtual travel, education and training.
Popular VR headsets include the Meta Quest Pro, the Vive XR Elite and the Pico 4. You can find a comparison of these goggles here.
Extended Reality (XR):
XR is a collective term that encompasses the entirety of reality technologies, including AR and VR. XR extends the capabilities of physical and digital reality to provide users with a broader range of experiences. It is an umbrella term that encompasses all types of augmented reality, whether adding digital elements to the physical environment (AR) or fully immersing users in a virtual world (VR). XR offers a flexible range of experiences that can be customized depending on the use case and user needs.
Mixed Reality (MR):
MR is a technology that combines elements of both AR and VR. In MR environments, digital content can interact with and influence the physical environment while simultaneously immersing users in this augmented reality. MR systems allow users to place and interact with virtual objects in the real world, creating a seamless experience that blends digital and physical elements. MR finds application in areas such as architecture, design and industrial use.
The world of augmented realities, including AR, VR, XR and MR, is incredibly diverse and innovative. Each technology offers unique possibilities and areas of application. While AR embeds digital elements into the real world, VR enables full immersion into virtual worlds. XR is a comprehensive term that covers the full range of reality technologies. MR combines the best of AR and VR to create an immersive fusion of digital and physical reality. These technologies have the potential to permanently change the way we interact, learn, and perceive our world. With each advance in these technologies, exciting new possibilities await us that will continue to shape our future.