Tech Tuesday: What is VR, AR, MR, and XR?

The acronyms VR, AR, MR, and XR may be foreign for many people. Therefore, on this week’s episode of Tech Tuesday, Get Real CTO Derek Edwards defines these acronyms and explains how they may affect our daily lives.

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Derek Edwards here from Get Real and welcome to the latest episode of our Tech Tuesday series in some of our previous episodes we’ve talked about sports training VR glasses and the metaverse but for today’s episode I want to take a step back and I want to talk about exactly what is VR AR MR XR and all these different acronyms that are becoming increasingly popular and why they might be important to me and to you first let’s start with AR AR stands for augmented reality which basically means we’re combining our physical real world environment with our virtual technology world it sounds complicated but I’m sure many of you have already experienced it in one way or another think of some of your big box retailers like Target or Walmart you might be searching through some you might be shopping for a new sofa or a new mirror or something and you might want to see what it looks like in your space before actually purchasing it so you find your item you click on the see it in your space button and now your camera is showing your current room or house or location with that object on top of it so basically that overlay of your house your real world with this new virtual world is what augmented reality is another example which many of you have used as well is Snapchat’s filter system whether you’re using your face your child’s face or even your pet’s face and turning that into a Disney-like cartoon or trying out a new pair of sunglasses or maybe even trying on some new facial hair or a new hairdo that is another version of what augmented reality is and how you’re beginning to use it on a day to day so next let’s move on to VR okay and how is VR different from AR so VR stands for virtual reality and it’s different in that it replaces your entire environment so again where AR is basically combining your physical world in your virtual world virtual reality is replacing your physical world it’s creating this immersive experience or this immersive environment and with VR unlike AR where you have a little bit more lightweight phone you’re using VR uses the headsets okay and some of the most popular headsets or one of the most popular headsets is Facebook’s Oculus or Oculus Quest so you put that on and suddenly you’re in a maybe you’re on the side of a cliff learning to scale it or maybe you’re walking out on a plank above a skyscraper so that’s how AR and VR differ now let’s talk about MR MR stands for mixed reality and as the name implies it is a combination of both augmented and virtual reality it’s similar in virtual reality in that it is an immersive experience but it’s similar to augmented because it doesn’t fully replace your environment it actually combines the two together a great example of this is let’s say you’re in your living room again and now you have a hologram of one of your family members from overseas or from miles miles away that you’re just not able to see very often or maybe they are they live down the block and you’re just going to have a face time with them but only in a new hologram form so the fact that they’re there with you in your environment you can see them you can walk around them that is mixed reality that’s that’s how it differentiates between augmented and virtual into mixed reality okay or maybe another example that might become more and more common down the road is say again I have my glasses on or my mixed reality glasses and I’m walking downtown and i see a new restaurant maybe I can walk up and I can pull up the menu from them I may even be able to order from this new restaurant all through my mixed reality headset again it’s not replacing my physical environment because I’m able to walk around there but it’s almost supplementing it if you will and finally let’s talk about XR XR to me personally it’s really just an umbrella term I think of XR as the new VR VR used to mean anything that kind of changes your your physical world a little bit that’s what XR stands for now because of these different variations between XR I’m sorry between VR MR and AR so XR is kind of an umbrella term to basically refer to any sort of technology that is modifying or replacing your physical world um together those are the various acronyms that we have so why is this important to me why is it important to you why are we spending time even talking about this so I think there’s a few different ways to look at and we’ll focus on three right now the first way to look at it is just from the consumer perspective these technologies are becoming more and more common as we’ve said they’re showing up in your phone applications whether you even realize it or not and you’re using them whether you realize it or not so I think it’s important to understand where the technology is going and how it’s affecting you on a day-to-day basis next let’s talk about the technology perspective these new technologies are the results of many many years of research and development not to mention the amount of money going into these r d efforts we’re starting to hear about all the different publicity each of these large tech companies are having for example we are seeing more and more news articles about these big tech companies look at Microsoft and the HoloLens defense contract for 22 billion earlier this year we’re seeing Facebook and Ray-Bans working together on Facebook’s new smart glasses called Stories we already know about Facebook’s headsets the Oculus Quest and some of you may remember Google’s first entry with Google Glass back in 2013. not only are we seeing those technologies but this is the culmination of many other disciplines of technology outside of the displays we are seeing computer vision and object detection that is required for some of these systems to even work we’re talking about natural language processing to allow for voice activated commands speech recognition and even that discipline unto itself is becoming more and more advanced and finally I want to talk about the professional perspective while many of us the introduction into these technologies into VR AR MR have been through entertainment purposes these technologies go far beyond being the next level of video gaming these can help improve a person’s soft skills in typical work environments they can help somebody land a job through training of different job interviews they can help reduce an organization’s time in training their professionals there are many applications of these various technologies and we’re really just scratching the surface and what is possible as these new technologies become mainstream that’s exactly what I wanted to do today I wanted to take a step back talk talk about all these various acronyms what they really mean how they differ and hopefully share some of my excitement I have for this industry with you and of course if you or your organization have any questions about how you can leverage VR AR MR please reach out to any of us on the get real team I want to thank you again for your time I hope you enjoyed this episode of our Tech Tuesday series and of course please don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss out on our next one till next time take care.