Beyond AR vs. VR: What is the Difference between AR vs. MR vs. VR vs. XR?
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- 10 mths ago
Mixed reality (MR) refers to the blending of the physical world with the digital world. It allows the superposition and interaction between digital elements and the real-world environment to varying degrees. MR experiences can fall anywhere between the ends of the virtuality continuum.
In MR experiences, the user is not bound to a screen and can interact with both the digital and the physical elements.
In the video below, you can see how digital objects interact with physical objects in an MR experience.
This video shows how MR experiences blend the physical and digital worlds. As you can see, the same experience would be different if the user was in a different place. The MR experience adapts to the user’s physical environment. Therefore, MR technology needs to get data from the physical environment to be able to construct the digital elements accordingly. MR requires advanced input methods and environmental perception.
MR includes any reality-altering technology and is not limited to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).© Christian Briggs and the Interaction Design Foundation
The main difference between AR and MR is that in AR experiences digital elements are overlaid on the physical world in real time but there is no interaction between them. AR technology allows the superposition of a digital layer on top of the physical world. Instead, in MR experiences digital elements are not only superposed upon the real-world environment but also interact with it.
The main difference between VR and MR is that in VR experiences the physical world is completely blocked out. Instead, MR experiences blend the digital and the physical world to any degree. Therefore, VR technology completely ignores the environment which the user is in, whereas MR experiences process the environment which the user is in and include it in the experience. Similarly, in a VR experience, the user only interacts with the virtual environment, whereas in an MR experience, the user interacts with both virtual and physical elements.
Learn how to design your own XR experiences with our course: How to Design for Augmented and Virtual Reality.
Watch the How To Influence Behavior Through Virtual Reality Narratives on-demand Master Class by VR pioneer Mel Slater.
Here’s the entire UX literature on Mixed Reality (MR) by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Take a deep dive into Mixed Reality (MR) with our course Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide .
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