XR, VR, AR, and MR

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Extended Reality

Extended Reality (XR) is the umbrella for Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and hybrid reality or Mixed Reality (MR).

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment where people can interact with and within the system (Machover & Tice, 1997). VR is also a term for anything that seemingly replaces the reality that has been created digitally. The fully immersive VR uses a head-mounted display, a computer to create a 3D virtual environment, and a joystick to control the movement. Non-immersive VR or desktop VR involves a virtual environment, 360-degree images/videos, and control devices such as gloves, a mouse, or a joystick (Maas & Hughes, 2020).  The idea of VR is to replace real reality with a new virtual computer-generated environment and trick the human brain to think that the virtual computer-generated environment is a new reality.

VR has been used for many purposes but mainly for education and game. VR started with the air force as part of the flight training program and flight simulator because it is easier and cheaper to have new pilots practicing their fighting maneuvers, shooting, ejecting, and crashing without using the real plane. Starting in 2015, companies started to build personal VR experiences with the same purposes, there are teaching and learning or education, and gaming.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital elements in the real world that people see. Unlike VR that the user must wear glasses to make the user completely blend or coexist with the real-world environment and immerse into the digital world (Maas & Hughes, 2020). In AR, the user still can see the real world but is augmented with digital elements such as annotation or images. AR does not necessarily must use glasses like Google Glasses, but we can also use simple tools like smartphones to use experience AR like Pokémon GO! And Snapchat filters. There are lots of companies that use AR to give their customer a better experience by giving them customers to try it virtually before they buy the product. Example of this is IKEA, Rolex, Warby Parker, and many more.

Mixed Reality

Mixed reality (MR) is one of the most recent innovations around extended reality. MR takes AR to another level. MR is combining AR and VR to give the next level of experience to the user by physically interacting with digital elements but in the real-world environment (Maas & Hughes, 2020). MR can manipulate digital images that are overlaid in the real world, a good example of MR is Microsoft HoloLens or the Lenovo Explorer.  MR is using a headset, but it is different from the VR headset that completely blanks out the world, the headset allows the user to see the real-world environment and can interact with the digital elements. Nowadays, MR has been used in many fields, such as school, medicine, the military, and others. But the purpose of MR is for education such as: increasing the competency level, giving more experiences, and others.