Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality: what is the difference?

By Alexandra Bagratian | December 12, 2018 |

greater than 3 minutes

‘Reality leaves a lot to the imagination’
John Lennon

Today humans do not just accept reality – we actually shape it. Thus, tech companies are in a race to patent new technologies that enable immersive digital experiences. Evidently, such innovations provide new opportunities and contribute to the well-being of individuals and businesses around the world, as well as making life more exciting, so they are truly welcome. As for the catch (which, as we all know too well, is always present), in terms of technology, things may look quite complicated – there are plenty of terms and details you are supposed to have a good understanding of to comprehend what it is all about (well, easier said than done). That said, it is important that you stay up to date no matter how hard that might seem. So, it is time to find out what the difference between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality is.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a realistic computer-generated universe you can interact with. It’s a three-dimensional alternate world around you that seems so real since your physical presence is replicated there. The great thing is, virtual reality is no longer just part of sci-fi books and movies: it’s here, and you are free to dive in. Just grab a VR headset and a nice pair of headphones (if necessary), connect the things to an appropriate device (a PC, gaming console, or smartphone), an enjoy another universe. Magic, isn’t it?

What is augmented reality?

This is a type of reality where digital content is added to real environments. As such, you navigate the world which is 100 % real but overlaid with digital objects. Do you remember the Pokemon Go, which was a hit back in 2016? There you are supposed to use your phone to catch fantastic creatures in locations around you. That experience became possible thanks to augmented reality.

Today this technology is widely accessible. For instance, iPhone X is capable of entertaining you with its awesome animojis that you can slap on your face while making a call, and the Google Glass eyeglasses will display digital content right in front of your eyes. There are lots of apps available for your smartphone (if it’s modern enough) through which you can experience augmented reality in different ways – from getting on-screen contextual information when pointing your mobile device at a real object to probing cutting-edge computer vision algorithms when playing the most sophisticated games or designing complex environments.

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What is mixed reality?

This is something truly impressive. It is actually an environment in which virtual objects do not only appear in but also interact with the real world. Basically, mixed reality technologies can be divided into two groups that are as follows:

  • Mixed reality based on the real world

This is something like augmented reality – although it has a lot more to it. There virtual objects become almost real since you can interact with them. Using Skype on Microsoft HoloLens is a case in point: you can see those you are skyping with on a holographic screen and share your experiences with them by showing what is actually around you; in fact, you can even point at and mark real-world objects with a pen and arrow tool, which provides another person with an intimate window into your life.

  • Mixed reality based on the virtual world

Here you are anchored to the digital environment, but it is still connected to the real world around you. For example, real-world objects can be part of your virtual experience – this is what Windows Mixed Reality provides. It lets you enter a world that is much less synthetic than the one you get into when immersed in virtual reality. In Windows Mixed Reality, you act rather than just spectate, which makes navigating it extremely exciting. To have a go, you need a Win 10 computer and a dedicated mixed reality headset, such as HoloLens.

In a nutshell, the difference between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality lies in how they are related to the physical world. While virtual reality is a completely artificial environment and augmented reality allows you to see overlaid virtual objects, mixed reality is, as its name suggests, a blend of both that offers unique set-ups with different levels of digital immersion. Windows Mixed Reality, in particular, is what you might find interesting to poke and prod. For this, you need to get your Windows 10 computer in tip-top shape. To achieve this, you can use Auslogics BoostSpeed – this tool will keep your PC at its peak performance so that you can enjoy the future that’s knocking at your door.

Have you given mixed reality a try?

Please share your experience with us!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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