Virtual reality

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Extended Reality(XR) – everything you need to know

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XR is a new, exciting technology that everyone is talking about right now. What does XR mean and how accessible is this technology really? How is XR different from AR and VR, and how will this technology be integrated into new devices and equipment you already own?

Extended reality or XR is a common term for several different, connected technologies. XR always brings with it the names of other related technologies, such as virtual reality (VR, virtual reality), augmented reality (AR, augmented reality) and mixed reality (MR, mixed reality). The names of these technologies are often confused, but there are clear differences between them.

In this article, we will walk you through the confusion of words and terms that surround XR technology. We will compare XR with VR, AR and MR technologies and clarify the differences between them.

What is Extended Reality?

XR stands for “extended reality,” a term that actually encompasses virtual, refined, and mixed reality. XR technology aggregates the reality we are in and somehow modifies it. There are three ways in which reality can be expanded:

  • Injecting users into a virtual environment using virtual reality (VR)
  • Virtual refinement of the user’s environment using refined reality (AR).
  • The simultaneous use of virtual reality and its enrichment with real-world elements using mixed reality (MRI).

Extended reality is basically a tool to add something to our existing substance. Literally, “expanding reality.” Imagine 3D content and objects seen through your smartphone’s camera (for example, a Pokemon GO game), smart glasses (like NuEyes glasses to help the visually impaired), or virtual worlds that you can access using VR headsets. All of this falls under extended reality.

The concept of extended reality has actually existed for much longer than most people think – ever since Charles Wyckoff patented his photographic XR film in the 1960s.

However, thanks to the technologies being developed today and to which we have access, companies have only recently begun to realize the potential of The XR. Advanced smartphones today can track everything from eye movements to your body position, and pave the way for ar-technologies. Likewise, intelligent sensors and high-resolution lenses provide us with, hitherto, unimaginable opportunities, when it comes to virtual reality.

From hands-free XR hedsets to tools that use artificial intelligence to gather information and use that information to almost simultaneously expand reality, companies today are actively developing and investing in these technologies and XR platforms because of the great potential utility hidden in them.

Forms of extended reality

Currently, there are three forms of extended reality on the market, each of which is defined by the level of interaction between the virtual and real worlds. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three environments. VR, AR and MR.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) almost completely replaces the real world by creating unique, interactive virtual worlds. Unlike AR, accessing VR requires special devices (VR headsets) and sensors and controllers to interact with virtual space. Some devices can work independently, while others need a constant connection to a computer.

You can read more about virtual reality (VR) here.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality involves inserting virtual objects into the real world. AR does not put us into a virtual world, but uses devices like smartphones to display virtual objects over a picture of the real world. When using AR, users retain full access to the real world while at the same time having the ability to manipulate virtual aspects. A good example of a refined reality is the Pokémon-GO mobile game. Other examples of augmented reality are the various filters we see in many apps like Instagram or Snapchat.

You can read more about the refined reality (AR) here.

Mixed reality

The exact definition of an MRI is flexible. Mr. is, basically, a combination of AR and VR. In it, you can interact with virtual and real objects at the same time. Virtual objects can also interact with real objects. Users can use special MR hedsets to see their surroundings and in it various virtual, digitally placed, objects. These hedsets are much more powerful than VR headsets, but they are also more expensive. However, these devices provide the power of digital interaction with the environment. For example, using an MRi device will allow you to view your entire environment. For example, in mri, you can move real objects that surround you without actually moving them in reality but only moving their digital doppelgangers. You can also place various objects in the space that surrounds you without actually owning those objects, but you can already use their virtual doppelgangers. Today, many companies invest huge amounts of money in researching this field of XR technologies.

You can read more about mixed reality (MRI) here.

What can you do with extended reality?

The true potential of XR is just beginning to be revealed today. The survey shows that about 60% of people believe XR will become a “mainstream” environment in the next five years. The rise of XR also paves the way for the development of various new concepts, such as the metaverse.

Almost certainly already regularly use at least one XR application in everyday life. For example, Google Maps. Street view can technically be considered an XR, as well as a satellite view that you can use while navigating. You’re also exposed to XR every time you watch sports. In competitive swimming, for example, often at the beginning and end of the race, the names of swimmers written in their strips can be seen. That, of course, isn’t live in the pool, but you see it on TV. Likewise, when you have a meeting over Zoom and someone uses a virtual background or some filter, it’s also XR.

But extended reality can have a variety of other useful applications:

Training and development

Extended reality is increasingly becoming particularly common in education. In colleges, professors use virtual reality to place their students in worlds where they can experience the content they are currently learning about. One example of this kind of use is the MedicalHolodeck application – an application used in medicine. Also, in the business world, AR, MR and VR can help employees develop and practice the skills needed for dangerous jobs without putting them at any risk.

Remote work

Employees can easily connect with colleagues, view shared content, and even collaborate on projects through XR devices whether they are in the same building or on opposite ends of the world. Using MRI and AR, experts can guide teams through complex tasks, such as solving problems on a production machine and the like.

Marketing and sales

Companies can advertise their products through XR and can provide their users with hands-on experience and insight into their products or services. This can be extremely useful because companies will have to spend fewer resources on advertising. Instead, they can directly provide their customers with the experience of using a product or service.

Entertainment and entertainment

The entertainment industry can also benefit greatly from XR, in the same way that it benefits from AR and VR. They, first of all, can find new and amazing ways to use this technology.

Will XR replace VR in the future?

Since the XR has become something that is more often mentioned only years after the second generation of modern VR (i.e. Oculus Rifta), unsurprisingly, many wonder if this will be the next big thing to replace VR. The bottom line is that XR devices will most likely offer a choice between VR, AR, or MR experiences. For example, you’re in VR exploring some virtual world, then quickly switch ing to MR mode to do something in the real world before you go back to VR.

An interesting example of xr usage