Now that there’s rapid growth in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), there is increased confusion about the differences between the technologies. While all are immersive technologies (technology that integrates virtual and real-world elements) and have similarities, there are differences. Here I outline the differences between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Users are completely immersed in a computer-generated reality when they experience virtual reality. Virtual reality is the most well-known of immersive technologies. While the world of gaming and entertainment were early adopters of virtual reality, VR applications are now used in many organizations and industries including the military, engineering and construction, healthcare, education, business and more.
When a user puts on a head-mounted display or a VR headset, they sense—and their brains believe—they are moving among virtual objects on a screen. Most commonly, the headset is connected to a PC or console that enables the virtual experience. In the case of Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, it’s a smartphone that creates the virtual experience, while the Oculus Go can do it all because it’s a standalone VR headset.