1) Virtual RealityVirtual reality is a realistic artificial environment which is created and interacted with in such a way that all differences between the real and digital worlds are erased. VR is about total immersion and interaction and one cannot tell whether the environment one’s experiencing is real or simulated. It may replicate a real life scene like the busy streets of Times Square or Wall Street or create an entirely new world with new laws of gravity, time, and space.
2) Augmented RealityEver played with the face filters on your smartphone? That is Augmented Reality. The term “augmented” means to make greater by addition. AR is reality augmented or supplemented with graphics, sound, GPS data and touch feedback etc. The computer-generated content in AR is, however, not anchored to the real-2 world content and therefore, cannot interact and respond to it in real time. Think of it as a cute little desk toy in your display that follows the same pattern repeatedly.
3) Mixed RealityConfused yet? Here’s something to add to the foggy climate. MR is often used interchangeably with AR, but they are not the same! The key difference lies in the fact that MR content is tethered to the real world and is, hence, much more interactive which allows it to react to the real-world content in real time. Wikipedia calls MR a hybrid reality and defines it to be the merging of real and virtual worlds. Microsoft’s take at Holographic computing is one of the biggest advances in MR. In a nutshell…
- Virtual Reality is a realistic, totally immersive artificial environment accepted as a real environment. The HTC Vive HMD (head mounted display) is a great example of what VR is all about.
- Augmented Reality is the natural world enhanced with sensory feedback. IKEA’s project to show a recipe based on the ingredients present on the table is an example.
- Mixed Reality is the co-existence and interaction of physical & digital content where digital content responds to physical world in real time. Hardware associated with MR includes the Microsoft HoloLens.