What Is Mixed Reality? Is It Different From VR And AR?

Understand the difference between each technology.


Mixed reality is a combination of both the real-world and digital world because we can make elements of each world interact with one another. It takes place in neither world and is a hybrid of both worlds where physical and digital objects can co-exist and interact in real-time.

It is different and quite similar to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). In this article, we will try to explain why.

How is Mixed Reality different from VR and AR?

We can say that most AR and VR experiences available today represent small subsets of the larger Mixed Reality spectrum. Augmented reality (AR) takes place in the physical world, with information or objects added virtually. However, mixed reality is different from AR as it requires interaction between the real world through sensors and interconnected systems.

mixed reality vs virtual reality vs augmented reality

One example of such an application is understanding the physical space surrounding the user with the ability to place holograms in that space. With the latest advancements in technology, this is easily achievable through sensors and tracking cameras present in modern-day VR headsets. With the rise in technology, mixed reality has become somewhat attainable in the past few years.

However, when compared to mixed reality, VR is still limited to the digital world. However, more and more developers are now using the cameras and the sensors on VR headsets to make them MR compatible. So, all in all, mixed reality can be considered a combination of VR and AR with advanced physical world mapping capabilities.

Practical applications of Mixed Reality

The term mixed reality was first used by Microsoft when it launched Microsoft HoloLens in 2016. So maybe the above video can help you recognize the practical implications of this technology. Other than that, people have also used it in many fields such as:

  • Design (Architecture and Interior Design)
  • Education (simulation based learning and training)
  • Entertainment (video games such as Pokemon Go)
  • Military (training and advanced combat equipment)
  • Remote work
  • Real time translation
  • Healthcare (helps doctors in surgeries and getting patient data)

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Nalin Rawat

Nalin Rawat

Nalin is a tech writer who covers VR, gaming, awesome new gadgets, and the occasional trending affairs of the tech industry. He has been writing about tech and gaming since he started pursuing Journalism in college. He has also previously worked in print organizations like The Statesman and Business Standard. In his free time, he plays FPS games and explores virtual reality. Reach out to him at @NalinRawat
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