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What is the difference between Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) glasses?

What is the difference between Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) glasses?

There are differences among three virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. Currently, smart glasses dominate the technology landscape, with many companies announcing their new products in this field, including companies like Meta, Oppo, and HTC. Apple has also joined the race by unveiling its "Vision Pro" glasses, marking Apple's entry into this field after a long time.

There are significant differences among the smart glasses available in the market and those that have been announced. Each of them operates on different technologies and offers different features. Some support virtual reality (VR), while others support augmented reality (AR). The third type supports mixed reality (MR).

It is virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, and what are the most important differences between them, and what are the potential use cases?

What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual Reality (VR) technology is considered the most popular in the field of digital content, as it allows for the creation of a fully immersive digital environment where users can escape from their real-world by wearing smart glasses equipped with sensors and technologies that translate their movements into the virtual world.

Meta (formerly known as Facebook) dominates the market of virtual reality headsets, holding a market share of up to 75% with its flagship product, the Meta Quest. In 2022 alone, they sold 10 million units of the Quest, and it is expected to further increase its market presence with the widespread adoption of the metaverse.

Quest 2

Virtual reality has entered various fields, including gaming, medicine, education, and manufacturing. Companies utilize it for equipment analysis, evaluating production processes, and worker training. One of its significant applications in the medical field is its use in rehabilitation for patients with neurological disorders.

PlayStation VR

In addition, there are many games that support virtual reality technology, and Sony is one of the leading companies in this field with its smart glasses, PlayStation VR.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)? 

Augmented Reality (AR) adds elements to your reality without replacing it. It is a technology that allows for the overlay of digital elements onto the real-world environment, enhancing your current reality through blended visuals and other data.
Microsoft HoloLens

As a technology, Augmented Reality (AR) can enhance or alter a user's perception by adding digital information such as images, videos, and data. Most people use AR on a daily basis through their smartphones, and one popular example of an AR experience is the Snapchat app, which allows users to use various lenses.

Among the well-known applications of AR is the Pokemon Go app, which enables players to use their smartphones to interact with digital characters in the real world.

Pokemon Go

The augmented reality technology is used in various fields, including:

-Entertainment: The technology is used in some social media platforms like Snapchat and in games like "Pokemon Go." It can also be used to play movies on virtual screens as large as 100 inches. 
-Research: When using the Google search engine, you can view some results in 3D and augmented reality. You can search and experience things like wildlife, marine life, pets, chemistry and biology terms, and physics. 
-Training: Some tech companies use augmented reality in worker training and maintenance. Augmented reality glasses can display useful information for manufacturing preparation, such as device models, serial numbers, instruction manuals, repair procedures, and provide animated guidance on how to perform a specific task or repair a piece of machinery.
-Enhancing marketing and sales strategies: The technology is used to try out products before purchasing them. Users can experience products in their own homes without the need to go to physical stores.
- Restaurants: Restaurants can offer menu item display options using augmented reality, both inside the restaurant and through mobile applications.

What is Mixed Reality MR?

Vision Pro

In 1994, researchers Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino coined the term "Mixed Reality" (MR) to describe the communication between two environments, one being completely real and the other completely virtual.

Mixed Reality (MR) represents an advancement from Augmented Reality, allowing users to interact with and experience virtual objects and information. The inputs received by users in mixed reality experiences change according to the surrounding environment. 
Currently, mixed reality is the most prevalent form, and it is expected to gain even more prominence in the future due to advancements in mixed reality glasses technology. Key technologies include cameras and sensors that measure the dimensions of real-world objects, enabling realistic digital elements to be seamlessly added to the user's view through the glasses. 
Recently, Apple has entered this market with the launch of its smart glasses called "Vision Pro," aiming to compete with Microsoft's HoloLens, which targets the enterprise sector, and Meta, which announced its new "Quest 3" mixed reality glasses earlier this month. Other companies such as HTC with its "Vive XR Elite Business Edition" for the business sector and Oppo with its "Oppo MR Glass Developer Edition" targeting developers have also made their foray into the mixed reality market. These glasses are designed to empower developers to create applications and explore the best uses of mixed reality technology.
This market is expected to witness significant development and intense competition among companies this year. These glasses provide users with a digital experience while maintaining a connection with the real world, hence the term "Spatial Computing." Major companies like Apple believe that this technology will shape the future technological era.
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