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What is Extended Reality?

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  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 30 Sep, 2022
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Extended Reality (XR) is the combination of human & computer-generated graphics interaction, which is in reality as well as the virtual environment. In basic terms, Extended Reality is a superset of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) & Mixed Reality (MR).

The concept of Extended Reality (XR) came into the picture when technologies like Augmented & Virtual reality, were being used by developers and tech-companies all across the globe. Many Sci-fiction movies have used the concept of Extended Reality (XR), but operating it in the real world is very different than in the reel world. To understand the technical aspect of Extended Reality (XR), we need to understand the technologies which are used to create Extended Reality (XR) :

1. Augmented Reality (AR): The concept of augmented reality is that virtual objects and imaginations are put up in the real world. Augmented reality does not put us into any virtual or computer-generated graphics, rather it just creates a sense of illusion in digital gadgets. The users still have access to the real world & they can fully interact in both dimensions. The most common example is Pokémon-GO which used augmented reality so that the users can interact with the real as well as a virtual world with the help of digital gadgets. Other examples of Augmented reality are the filters that we see in many apps, these just create an illusion of being there, but they are not.

2. Virtual Reality (VR): In virtual reality, the users are put into a fully virtual environment, where they can interact only in the virtual world. The graphics generated are mostly computer and artificial objects are designed to give a feel of being real. The users can feel every bit of virtual reality. Special VR devices are needed to put users into this environment which gives them a 360-degree view of the virtual world. These devices are designed to give a much real illusion to users.

3. Mixed Reality (MR): Mixed reality is a combination of both AR & VR, where one can interact with the digital as well as the real world simultaneously. Users can visualize their surroundings in special MR devices. These MR devices are much more powerful than VR, and costly too! But these devices give you the power to interact with the surroundings digitally. For example, putting on an MR device will give you a view of your entire surroundings. You can do whatever you want, throw a ball, close the windows, etc which will be digitally in your MR headset, but in actual reality, things will remain as they are. Many companies are investing a huge amount of money for deeper research in this field of reality.

In a nut-shell, using Extended Reality(XR), people can visit places virtually, feel the same as they are present at that place, interact with other individuals on XR. Thus, it is a combination of all three AR, VR & MR.

3 Major Challenges Faced by Companies Developing Extended Reality (XR)

1. Cost: Cost is the most prominent challenge, that is faced by companies developing XR. The XR devices are very costly. Since many technologies are working together & a lot of hardware goes into the making of these devices, the cost is very high. If the cost is higher, common masses may not be able to use this product and companies developing would not able to increase their sales, this would not motivate the investors to invest their money into XR.

2. Hardware: Developing the hardware of XR devices is also a challenge for companies in this field. Since a lot of technologies, software & components are being used, making hardware is a difficult task. The hardware should just not be robust but also be compact and able to process a lot of information very quickly and swiftly, and on top of that, the hardware should be cheaper.

3. Privacy: Privacy is a challenge will be faced both by the users as well as the companies. Since XR devices are required to create an environment based on the user requirement, a lot of private details might be needed to create a user-rich environment. Storage of such data can be costly on the company’s side, & privacy of the information can be a worry on the user’s side.

Applications of Extended Reality (XR)

1. Entertainment Industry: The entertainment industry can hugely benefit from XR, just the same way they are benefitting from AR & VR. The entertainment industry can find new and amazing ways to utilize this technology and earn profits.

2. Sales & Marketing: Companies can advertise their product via XR, & can give their users a hands-on experience about their product or service. This can be beneficial, as companies will have to spend less on their advertisement, rather they can directly give their customers the experience of using the product.

3. Housing & Real Estate: One can easily find the suitable housing via a brief walkthrough using XR, & owners can also find potential buyers from various other locations, as there will be no need to go through physically. The role of brokers would be eradicated in such a scenario.

4. Education & Training: The use of XR can be a boon for this industry. Students all across the globe can find and choose the right colleges & study there is at their location. Anyone could use this technology to study in any institution around the globe. Also, the training of employees and workers can be done remotely using XR.

5. Work From Home for Remote Areas: The employees & staff can visualize a live environment of their office or workplace & can attend meetings from their homes, and also instruct others on how to work, from their homes. Especially, when the area is remote & difficult to work, XR can be used so that the work can be done from home.

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