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What is VR, AR and MR?

What are these different kinds of realities? Why is there just VR headsets all over the place? What’s AR and MR for? Are they the same? Read on.

vr ar mr

If you think that virtual reality or VR is all there is in this game of futuristic devices, then you’re wrong. In fact there are some terms that people throw around when they try to describe devices that involve virtual worlds. These are VR for virtual reality, AR for augmented reality and MR for mixed reality. All of these terms are not interchangeable and certainly not the same. So what’s the fuss all about?

Here are some of their similarities and differences so you won’t be confused as to what is what.

1. Devices

vr

VR – VR uses specialized headsets and glasses to show virtual images to the user’s eyes. Look at HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Heck, even at the Google Cardboard.

armr

AR/MR – AR can use headsets but most likely visors like the Microsoft Hololens. It mixes virtual elements to the real world. So the user can see both real and virtual worlds at the same time.

2. Source

vr

VR – VR uses powerful computers to give the best digital output for the user to see. It is most likely all digital so no real stuff in virtual reality’s setup.

armr

AR/MR – AR uses the real world and overlaying it with virtual elements that seamlessly blend together. It won’t have to use as much processing power as VR because real world is already available and doesn’t need to be rendered digitally.

3. Look and Feel

vr

VR – VR will most of the time look like the current high end games. All in 3D and digital.

armr

AR – AR will can still look more real but the 3D and digital elements can still be picked out from the overall world.

4. Immersion

vr

VR – VR fully immerses the user in a full virtual world. No real thing to be felt or seen through the headset.

armr

AR – AR lets the user see, hear and feel the real world but can still interact with the virtual elements.

5. Awareness

vr

VR – VR elements that are perfectly rendered can seem real enough to the user.

armr

AR – AR make use of good virtual elements to make the user unnotice the real from the virtual stuffs.

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