Difference Between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality

Technical Things To Know

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Updated: May 23, 2023


Difference Between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality And Mixed Reality


In one of our recent articles, we discussed using Virtual Reality (VR) systems to improve the lives of senior citizens. Although much more research needs to be completed on this topic, we know that VR is currently being used for medical testing. There are also claims that VR systems can improve a senior’s balance and gait. And, of course, it is also used to distract seniors from the dullness of day-to-day living.

Since VR is undoubtedly getting a lot of press in the senior care community, it is important to understand how VR compares to similar technology. Let’s learn how Virtual Reality compares with Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.


Virtual Reality

Out of the three types of technology, VR enables the users to remove themselves from their real lives.

To interact with this technology, users wear a headset that is connected with a computer, gaming console, or smartphone. Those wearing the headsets are fully immersed in an alternative environment.

There are different levels of VR. Most of the time, the alternative reality includes sound. Some of the technology allows users to move within the other world by moving their own bodies.

The gaming community and real estate industry have embraced this technology. Senior centers use VR programs to transport their residents to other parts of the globe.


Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality allows users to remain in the real world while overlaying digital content to it.

The most popular example of this technology is Pokemon Go. Even if you have never driven through a church parking lot late at night to find Pikachu or one of his friends, you have at least heard of this phenomenon. Players look at the real world through their smartphones to find images of the characters.

While one can use a smartphone to experience Augmented Reality, you can also purchase special headsets or glasses to use the technology as well. This allows you to see the real world overlaid with some other content.

Designers and retailers have embraced Augmented Reality technology. Designers can virtually dress a space to see how it looks before making expensive purchases. Retailers, like Harley Davidson, allow customers to see how real-life motorcycles would look with accessories and upgrades by looking through Augmented Reality glasses.

It doesn’t seem as if there are any senior-specific examples of Augmented Reality currently on the market, although that may change quickly.


Mixed Reality

If you are having a hard time visualizing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, you are going to have a tough time understanding Mixed Reality. It’s a little harder to describe than the other two.

Just as Augmented Reality programs use both the real world and the virtual world, so does Mixed Reality. This technology seems somewhat similar to Augmented Reality except most of the time Mixed Reality technology is used with a headset instead of merely a smartphone. The significant difference between Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality is that the second allows you to interact with the virtual objects.

Another difference is that Augmented Reality starts in the real world, while Mixed Reality can begin in the virtual world or the real world.

Confused? It seems as if a lot of people are. As you read more about these technologies, you will see that people often mislabel which form of technology is being used. Since they are pretty similar, this is easy to understand.


What Will The Future Bring?

As technology develops, people in the senior care industry will be quick to figure out how to use the innovations to improve the lives of the aging members of our population.


Featured Image Credit: zedinteractive  / Pixabay