If you’re getting dizzy categorizing all the reality-transforming technologies, here’s an increasingly popular term that covers the entire channel.
Undoubtedly, you don’t need any new acronyms in your life. Even a short one like XR.
XR stands for Extended Reality, and it’s being used as the superset of all those technologies that aim to change what we know as reality. In this article, part of our MarTech Cube, we look at how this short acronym can usefully serve as a shorthand for the reality transformation technologies.
There are a variety of descriptive names for the technologies that construct a reality that’s different from our everyday one.
The best-known one, Virtual Reality (VR), replaces everything with a completely simulated and responsive world, and, currently, it is primarily viewed through a headset.
Augmented Reality (AR) adds a layer of created objects — which can be realistic images, graphics or data — on top of the real world, and it is commonly seen through the viewer of a smartphone, since both iOS and Android now offer AR viewers. Or it can be seen through intelligent glasses, like Google Glass.
Mixed Reality is a term that began with a 1994 research paper by computer researchers Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino, entitled “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays.”
In their terminology, Mixed Reality covers all the variations of reality transformation between Real Reality at one end of a spectrum and completely new worlds generated in VR at the other end.
But others, including Microsoft, now use the Mixed Reality term differently. In their interpretation, it covers objects placed on top of actual reality, as with AR, but those objects interact with the rest of the world, as in VR. The massively funded startup Magic Leap, for instance, intends to push the envelope on Mixed Reality, in part by tracking where your eyes look at as well as where your head turns.