Do you ever get confused with Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR)? AR, VR, and MR are more than just buzzwords. Each serves a unique purpose, depending on the desired usage. Let us take a look at these three unique pieces of technology in more detail.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality technology offers a completely immersive experience beyond the physical realm. VR devices like Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and HTC Vive transport users into an “alternate universe”. However, everyone basically knows about Virtual Reality’s link to gaming. There’s a lot more happening in the world of VR, and if a computer programmer can dream it, users can see it, be it a virtual walk through a property in the Maldives or an exploration of furniture designs at IKEA.

https://demodern.com/projects/ikea-vr-showroom

VR experiences move and progress alongside with the user in a vividly realistic setting. Virtual Reality can also be described as “Near Reality,” taking us beyond the five senses and perception systems we learned about in school. VR awakens other sensory inputs entirely, empowering our brains with a richer flow of information by taking users into a 3D computer-generated environment.

VR has disrupted multiple industries worldwide, from real estate to finance and beyond. Estate agents use 360º VR experiences to give potential homebuyers a real glimpse into what life would be like inside a property. In the real estate industry, popularity is growing, with the likes of CapitaLand, Lendlease, and PropertyGuru leading the way in the Singapore market.

https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2017/5/152219/developers-tap-vr-technology-to-market-new-projects

https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/business/propertyguru-launches-propertyguru-lens

Even zoos such as Guangzhou Zoo in Guangdong province are using VR to give people a more intimate experience with wildlife, without the danger of coming face-to-face with a lion, while fashion retailers showcase in-store headsets to guests to take them to high-profile events like New York Fashion Week.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2126494/chinese-zoo-uses-virtual-reality-allow-visitors-interact-animals

Augmented Reality (AR)

Unlike VR, which escorts you into another immersive world entirely, AR is a fusion of your real world and digitalized elements, adding digital characters and elements into your real-time live view and reality, instead of replacing it. Usually, this is made possible through an in-built camera on your smartphone.

AR is presently used across numerous industries worldwide, including hospitality, film, and even medicine.

For example, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort ventured into virtual and augmented reality experiences in a bid to enhance the pre-arrival experience for visitors planning a stay at the resort.

In films, some notable ones are the Iron Man films, Minority Report, Avatar, Robocop, top Gun, Total Recall, Terminator and The Predator.

AccuVein is one classic example of how doctors and medical professionals use AR for vein injections.

Mixed Reality

MR experiences combine attributes of both AR and VR. In MR experiences, the real world and digital objects interact. MR is a relatively new concept, when compared with AR and VR.

Mixed reality is the best of both VR and AR worlds, introducing new environments where physical and digital elements exist in harmony – in real-time. The possibilities of MR are evolving daily, with investors worldwide going wild searching for lucrative new opportunities to throw their money at.

MR possibilities go far beyond gaming, and even within military and police enforcement units. AR and VR are currently being used to create simulation environments to train recruits and provide life-like examples of what they can expect when out on the field. ScopeAR is a prime example, using AR to assist with equipment repair and maintenance.

No matter which application or format, one thing is for sure – the age of VR, AR, and MR is here, and it’s here to stay.