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Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 13 Sep, 2021
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Virtual Reality (VR): The word ‘virtual’ means something that is conceptual and does not exist physically and the word ‘reality’ means the state of being real. So the term ‘virtual reality’ is itself conflicting. It means something that is almost real. 

We will probably never be on the top of Mount Everest or dive deep into the Mariana Trench or step on the Moon, but we might be able to do all these things without even stepping out of our homes, this is where Virtual Reality comes to the rescue. 

In simple words, Virtual Reality means we can experience things that never actually happen. It actually tricks our brain into thinking that we are in a different place using 3 of our senses-seeing, hearing, and touching. It creates a different world, and we feel we are a part of it, both physically and mentally. 

Virtual Reality (VR) has a lot of applications, some of them are:  

  1. Entertainment-Used for gaming, 3D cinema, and in theme parks. 
  2. Medicine-Used for surgery training, exposure therapy for people with phobia or anxiety disorder. 
  3. Skill training-Used for astronaut training, flight training, military training, etc. 

Augmented Reality (AR): The word ‘augmented’ means to add. It might not sound as exciting as VR but has impacted our lives deeply. Augmented reality uses different tools to make the real and existing environment better and provides an improved version of reality. 

Snapchat filters, Instagram filters, Pokemon Go are all Examples of AR. It is these AR apps that allow a customer to place virtual furniture in their house before buying. Projection-based AR applications allow human interaction by sending light onto a real surface and then sensing human touch, learning has become way more interesting and easy with AR, markerless AR provides data based on our location, it is also a powerful tool for marketing as it allows users to try products before buying. 

Mixed Reality (MR): It brings real-world and digital elements together. But wait, this is what AR does, so what is the difference? 
It integrates digital objects and real-world in such a way that it makes it look like the objects really belong there. 
Mixed Reality works by scanning our physical environment and creating a map of our surroundings so that the device will know exactly how to place digital content into that space –realistically –allowing us to interact with it. 

A few Examples of MR apps are: 

  1. An app that allows users to place notes around their environment. 
  2. A television app placed in comfortable spots for viewing. 
  3. A cooking app placed on the kitchen wall. 
  4. Microsoft’s Hololens is also a famous example of MR. 

One common thing between all the above forms of technology is that they change the way we perceive real-world objects. All of these are trying to connect the real world and virtual tools, helping us improve our productivity. 

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