New realities – VR, AR, MR are often subject of technology articles or part of various innovative solutions. We decided to look at them in detail because frankly, they confuse us a little.
The first appearance of the term “virtual reality” is a fruit of science fiction, it comes from the short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” written by Stanley Weinbaum in 1935. The story describes the idea of how a pair of glasses transfer a person into a fictional world by sense, smell, and taste.
85 years later, global sales of VR helmets are millions per year (about 14 million for 2019), but they are still a niche market because of their high prices and the specifics of the experience they bring.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be the same or completely different from the real world. Virtual reality is often used in various entertainment applications such as video games, but it also finds a place in quite serious aspects of life such as education, medicine, military exercises, and training, as well as in transforming archaeological and cultural finds into 3D environments.
Currently, virtual reality simulation systems use helmets (multi-projection media) to recreate realistic images and sounds, and thus realistic sensations, simulating the user’s physical presence in the virtual environment. But that’s not all, a person placed in virtual reality can look around, move and interact in the virtual world.
An unpleasant effect of using simulation systems is nausea and dizziness. The body tells the brain that it is not moving, but in virtual reality the eyes see that it is moving, and the body is confused, leading to a seasickness-like reaction.
This may come to show that our body is not fully ready for this type of experience yet, but it certainly does not place a limit on science and technology, because the next level of reality is even more impressive.
AR – Augmented reality is a combination between our real environment and computer-generated objects (sound, video, graphics, etc.), which is achieved through certain software used on a phone/tablet or special glasses.
According to Azuma, it is an environment that includes virtual reality and elements of the real world. For example, a user may wear transparent glasses to see both the real world and computer-generated images projected onto a picture of the world around them. However, it is important to mention that this superimposition of content (layers) on the real world does not become part of it and they cannot interact with each other.
There are already interesting examples close to our daily lives of using AR, for example, IKEA is developing a table as part of its concept kitchen, which offers recipes based on ingredients on the table, which is a great example of the potential of AR in the real, everyday life. A combination of virtual and augmented reality is also used in the construction of space satellites, in the assembly of the satellite to show the exact place of each component and detail of the device.
And to make it even more confusing, it’s time for the next kind of reality. Mixed reality (MR) – sometimes called hybrid reality – is the merging of the real and virtual worlds to create new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real-time.
It’s amazing, but MR connects people, objects, and places taken from the physical and digital world on one platform at the same time. Allows interaction with the help of holograms, to visualize scenes and processes with digital content as part of the real world, as the holograms respond to the movements and gestures of both the participant and signals from the outside world through gestures and voice commands for navigation. Mixed reality (MR) is the unification of the real and virtual worlds to create new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real-time. Mixed reality does not take place exclusively in either the physical or the virtual world, but is a hybrid that allows us to touch the best of both worlds.
The market for these technologies is constantly growing, and with it, the models themselves are evolving, upgrading their functionality in all aspects.
It is exciting to live in times when we can touch this type of experience, although we may not yet be fully ready to understand and accept them.