Immersive reality technologies take the world by storm and enlighten us about emerging things like how mixed reality is different from VR and AR. With the astounding growth of technology and science in the past decade, the rapid evolution of technologies enables science-fiction technologies from decades earlier a reality today. As a result, various emergent technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are already mainstream, with their popularity racing past enthusiasts and industrialists and pacing towards the consumer market too.
These technologies also go beyond the average consumers and towards product development and numerous industries too. The intuitiveness of using AR VR and MR for product development, research, and development in a production environment is too good to ignore. These technologies redefine the immersive experience while enabling various kinds of opportunities and possibilities.
The evolution of Artificial Intelligence and technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Big Data are accelerating these emerging technologies even more. For example, ML and Big data can enable devices and systems to make smart decisions and analyze vast data for deep analysis. Furthermore, AR, VR, and mixed reality are becoming more smart, intuitive, and user-friendly. Due to this, these emergent innovations are becoming mainstream technologies with their incorporation in various kinds of devices, systems, and environments.
Accordingly, with various industries and consumer markets rapidly adopting and using AR VR and MR tech, their economic potential is also increasing. Researchers expect that the global market for AR VR and MR technologies will cross 30 Billion US Dollars in 2021 while also accounting for the dip in market and industry developments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In hindsight, the market will rise substantially after the effects of the pandemic subside. While due to the pandemic, the global market was down. The market for these technologies will also grow due to the exposure of online and remote technologies among general consumers during the lockdown period.
Consequently, researchers forecast that the global AR VR and MR market will rise to reach 300 Billion US Dollars by 2024. This exponential rise of the AR, VR and MR market also accompanies the rise and evolution in the Internet of Things (IoT), display technologies, communication and networking technology, and processing and storage technologies. Subsequently, all these technologies complement each other, and the rise in one industry will influence the increase in all other technologies. Hence, immersive tech like AR VR and MR will inevitably shape the future of the technological landscape.
So it is essential to know and understand these technologies beforehand to prepare for their inevitable arrival in the mainstream market and adopt and use them properly.
Know your Technology: AR, VR, and MR
AR, VR, and MR are all immersive reality technologies dealing with experiences from both the virtual and the real world. They enable augmentation, enhancement, and even interaction with real-world elements alongside enabling a complete virtual experience beyond the real world. Consequently, these technologies are collectively known as Extended Reality (XR) technologies due to their ability to extend and go beyond the reality of the real world or even the virtual one.
AR is an immersive reality tech that enables the enhancement of the real world with the help of digital elements, effectively augmenting the real world. This enhancement happens with the convergence of various digital elements like sound, visual graphics, overlays, and sensory feedback like haptics. These elements all work together in coherence to provide a sense of immersiveness and make the user feel like they are a part of this new “augmented reality.”
An AR system works by taking various virtual world elements and placing them in the real world. Then, the AR systems deliver all these digital elements to blend in with the real world to enhance it effectively. Thus, the AR system promises to make us experience the dimension beyond what we refer to as a human reality for now. Various AR glasses, smart camera apps, and different AR kits provide multiple AR experiences.
VR, on the other hand, provides an entirely virtual experience to the user. VR enables a 3D virtual world with its digital environment alongside various elements such as sounds, additional graphics, and sensory elements like haptics. Our entire perception of everything around us is derived through our senses, so VR is more about feeding our senses with elements that make our experience similar to the real world. VR effectively blends these elements to immerse the user in this virtual world and make them feel like part of that virtual reality.
VR systems are more common than AR devices due to the simplicity of VR, which only requires a high fidelity display with the capability to display crisp and color-accurate images. The VR system displays its various digital elements through this display and also enables interaction with this world. It is done by using multiple remotes and sensor devices that observe the user and their movements and effectively bring upon the user’s actions in the virtual world that reacts to these movements and actions.
Various kinds of VR devices are available in the market today. VR headsets from different brands like Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus VR, etc., provide VR content to consumers. Along with entertainment, VR devices have been more used in Architecture, Sport, Medicine, and research in recent times.
Lastly, mixed reality is an immersive technology that brings these two technologies, AR and VR, together. The combination of AR and VR allows MR technology to enable interaction between the real world and the virtual world, not just with the user but also with each other. The MR system also utilizes various digital elements, sounds, and sensory information with AR and VR systems to enable immersion in the new “mixed reality.”
MR also enables users to manipulate both real-world and virtual objects. While manipulation with real-world objects is only possible virtually, the immersiveness is effectively enhanced with next-generation sensing, IoT, and computer vision technologies. It means that MR not only just overlays virtual objects to the real world but it also anchors them in the real world or vice-versa to enable interactions with both worlds.
Microsoft’s HoloLens is a prime example of consumer-level MR technology that is widely available and accessible. New MR technology is just now starting to take off with Microsoft’s HoloLens. The MR technology, similar to AR and VR, also delivers various digital elements, media elements, and sensory elements to immerse the user in its new world.
How mixed reality is different from VR and AR?
On a fundamental level, you can also assume MR as an advanced AR and VR technology level. VR only lives in the virtual world while MR extends the virtual world in the real world. While the AR system only allows placing digital elements in the real world and interacting with it, the MR system allows the setting of both digital elements and real-world elements in its mixed reality.
With this, we can have two forms of MR technology. It starts with the real world, places virtual objects in it, and acts as an advanced form of AR tech. And another that begins with the virtual world and places real-world objects/elements in them, acting as an advanced form of VR tech that allows placing real-world objects and interacting with them.
The MR that bases its world on the real world will start with it and place digital elements. With interaction with these digital elements, the user will remain in the real world with additional virtual elements.
The MR that bases its world on the virtual world will start with it and place real-world elements, i.e., virtual form, in this virtual world. With these types of MR, the user will remain in the virtual world where real-world features (their digital form) can be interactive along with virtual objects and the environment being interactive and responsive towards the user’s actions and movements.
For instance, if you play a game inside mixed reality, the developers can use real-world objects to interact with their virtual world game. For example, users may use real-world objects like bottles, bats, sticks, etc., to attack the enemy players or characters. On a similar note, players can also use objects like tables, chairs, etc., to hide behind them to protect themselves.
It effectively connects the real world and virtual world to enjoy the benefits from both VR and AR systems. Some of the practical applications of mixed reality include military training and remote working too.
FS Studio is a technology group with decades of collective experience and knowledge about these AR, VR, and MR systems. With various experts in different fields, FS Studio enables intuitive product innovation and advancement in Avant-grade R&D technology, including solutions for AR, VR, and MR technology. The whole industry is transforming itself with digital technology at its core to prepare itself for the inevitable arrival of the next industrial revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) or Industry 4.0. With the pace of transformation showing how mixed reality is different, various industries, AR, VR, and MR, will play a significant role in reshaping the future industries at an industrial/production level and the general consumer level. At this level, AR VR and MR will become mainstream technology that will redesign product experience, product innovation, and development and even enable new opportunities and possibilities. Accordingly, FS Studio will move forward to provide innovative solutions and advanced technology for its clients to leverage these opportunities and possibilities within AR, VR, and MR.