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1. Overview

In this short tutorial, we’ll learn the differences between AR, VR, XR, and MR.

2. The Virtuality Continuum

The virtuality continuum contains all the possibilities between the physical world and a completely digital one. Further, every technology that changes our view of the world, whether by adding digital objects to it or completely replacing it with another digital world, covers a certain area in the virtuality continuum:

Virtuality Continuum

3. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality adds digital elements to the physical world, usually by using the camera on a smartphone. However, there is no interaction between the objects in the physical world and the digital ones.

AR technologies cover an area close to the real environment in the virtuality continuum:

AR

Pokemon Go is an example of a successful implementation of augmented reality.

4. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality creates an immersive virtual environment while completely blocking the real world.

VR technologies cover the virtual environment end of the virtuality continuum.

For example, this is a picture of a VR game:

VR

Moreover, devices like HTC Vive, Meta Quest 2, and Sony Playstation VR provide a VR experience.

5. Mixed Reality (MR)

In mixed reality, the physical world and the digital world combine, and their elements can interact. Further, the user can see and interact with elements from both the real world and the virtual environment.

MR technologies cover the central area of the virtuality continuum.

For instance, this is a picture of a mixed reality job simulator game:

MR

In addition, Microsoft HoloLens 2 is a device that provides an MR experience.

6. Extended Reality (XR)

Finally, extended reality is an umbrella term that encapsulates AR, VR, MR, and every technology that replaces our view of the world or adds to it.

7. Summary

In this short article, we learned about the virtuality continuum and the differences between AR, VR, and MR.

Authors Bottom

If you have a few years of experience in Computer Science or research, and you’re interested in sharing that experience with the community, have a look at our Contribution Guidelines.

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