- What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
- The Crucial Difference Between Mixed Reality Vs. Augmented Reality
- Mixed Reality Vs. Augmented Reality: Current Adoption and Application
- Augmented Reality Vs. Mixed Reality Trends You Should Know
- How to Use Virtual Reality Technologies
Have you heard about the Apple Vision Pro that is set to revolutionize the world of augmented reality? But is the product an augmented reality or mixed reality? So much is happening so fast that the difference between augmented reality vs mixed reality is becoming tricky.
Even though Apple calls the Vision Pro a “spatial computer” than an AR headset, it leans into mixed reality. That’s because it lets you alternate between seeing more of the real world and an immersive virtual reality experience.
This guide will explain mixed reality vs. augmented reality, its pros and cons, and future trends and opportunities.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Before discussing augmented vs. mixed reality, let’s talk about virtual reality. That’s because the first alternate reality paved its way to the market. VR technology allows you to enter a digital environment using unique goggles called VR headsets.
These headsets completely immerse your eyes and ears in a virtual world that appears and sounds real. Even though you remain physically in the same place, it feels as though you’ve been transported to a different location.
VR gives you different types of experiences. For example, imagine wearing the VR headset while relaxing at home and finding yourself on a beach or in a game environment like Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
The noises and images give it the impression that it’s actually happening even when it’s not.
Virtual Reality Gained Popularity
VR gained popularity because it was easier to operate. Google Cardboard, a basic product that allowed you to connect your smartphone to the goggles, was where it all began.
Later, Samsung unveiled the Gear VR, including a VR headset for every phone purchase. VR technology advanced significantly over time. It developed into more than simply an amusing addition.
The Crucial Difference Between Mixed Reality Vs. Augmented Reality
Now that we know about virtual reality, let’s find out more about augmented reality vs. mixed reality:
Augmented Reality (AR)
In virtual reality, we discussed how virtual reality lets you experience a fully immersed and simulated virtual world. However, augmented reality adds digital information into the physical world with digital data, which increases your real-life experience.
AR can display images, text, and animations that will make what you see around you more interesting. If you’ve used Instagram and Snapchat filters before, you used augmented reality.
However, it’s not just for entertainment. Businesses in sectors including healthcare, aviation, and automobiles are figuring out how to use augmented reality to make their jobs easier.
For instance, the IKEA app allows you to view virtual representations of the furniture in your actual living room. This gives you an idea of how it would appear there.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Mixed Reality allows you to interact with virtual objects as though they were real. However, it does this by bridging together real and virtual elements. So, unlike fully immersive experiences like VR, MR preserves a connection to the real world.
Suppose you wear the MR headsets and look at a thing or move around. The 3D elements you encounter respond to you as they would in the real world.
For example, if you approach a virtual object, it’ll look closer to you, and you can interact with it by doing actions like turning it around. Apple Vision Pro is a good example, including Samsung’s Odyssey and Lenovo’s Explorer.
Mixed Reality Vs. Augmented Reality: Current Adoption and Application
In a poll released in March 2018 by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 87% of participants said they were investigating, testing, or using mixed reality.
IDC surveyed line-of-business managers, corporate executives, and IT decision-makers for a PTC-sponsored initiative 2017. They found that 77% of respondents said their business was already exploring mixed reality.
About 36% of participants were in early testing, 15% were in pilots, 17% were moving from pilots to early deployments, and 9% were in late-stage deployments. Few respondents (about one in five) had no active mixed reality projects.
Furthermore, a McKinsey report shows that about 63% of businesses that adopt augmented reality use these tools for training and education.
Augmented Reality Vs. Mixed Reality Trends You Should Know
Here are the AR and MR trends that will change businesses, the economy, and the world forever:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The use of artificial intelligence in AR and MR looks promising. Adopting clever solutions like effective assembly, error handling, and enhanced production processes will get simpler as processor prices fall and technology advances.
Businesses will have the chance to grow in the upcoming years by integrating AI-assisted MR and AR. This will increase overall productivity, reduce the need for extensive training, and improve knowledge sharing and collaboration within companies.
2. The Metaverse
There hasn’t been positive feedback on Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. However, the ability to incorporate the virtual experiences provided by the metaverse may cause things to shift soon. So AR and MR may take the spotlight.
As Mark Zuckerberg stated, augmented reality will majorly determine how people interact with technology. Looking closely at the metaverse, we see that AR gives the virtual world an additional dimension.
This is where AR will play a crucial role in the metaverse. The metaverse may take some time. But when the time comes, I’ll become more enticing and engaging for users.
3. VR Gaming
VR gaming generates $1.1 billion in revenue, estimated to reach $2.4 billion the following year. Surprisingly, the gaming industry accounts for 43% of the market’s overall revenue for VR software.
Virtual reality holds a unique advantage in the gaming industry because of its ability to manage and change the game world entirely. Also, each year, the public is increasingly interested in VR gaming.
While lower hardware costs have been a major factor, the game content has improved. As a result of increased competition among VR game developers, there is an increase in demand for employment related to VR.
4. Web-Based AR
Web-based AR offers a practical way of using AR. As its name suggests, you don’t need any additional apps to see AR content directly in your mobile device’s web browser.
This feature dramatically increases user accessibility, which greatly benefits both people and businesses. There have been several web AR platforms recently, which continue to grow.
For instance, Assemblr recently unveiled its web augmented reality functionality to make it simpler for people to watch their AR experiences.
5. Affordable VR Solutions
VR has historically been significantly more expensive than AR. The good news is that more accessible VR technology is now on the market, changing the landscape for the better.
According to research, VR companies’ annual revenues are rising by 30%. However, the expense of VR continues to be the biggest barrier for consumers.
Let’s use the Oculus Rift as an example. It had a starting price of $599 when released in 2017. However, you still needed a compatible PC, which cost about $1,200 to use successfully.
How to Use Virtual Reality Technologies
If you want to experience virtual, augmented, or mixed reality, you’ll need a headset. Options range from entry-level equipment like Google Cardboard, which uses your smartphone’s screen, to PC-operated VR headsets like Oculus Rift for a quality experience.
Microsoft provides immersive headsets from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung for its Windows 10 Mixed Reality platform.
Many augmented reality headsets, including Microsoft Hololens, Google Glass, and Meta 2, are already on the market. Apple Vision Pro will be released in early 2024.
Make sure your PC satisfies the headset vendor’s specified system requirements before buying one.
Augmented reality vs. mixed reality provides exciting potential in entertainment, education, training, and a variety of businesses as technology develops further.
AR overlays virtual information onto the physical environment, and mixed reality combines real and physical elements. Regardless of the reality you want to experience, you’ll need a headset and a compatible computer.
Overall, with rising acceptance, improvements in AI integration, and higher accessibility to these immersive technologies, the future of mixed reality vs. augmented reality is looking bright.