AR vs VR vs MR – A Comprehensive Guide

ar vs vr vs mr
What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality or AR is a technology that enhances the real, physical world by adding layers of digital information on top of it. You need the accompanying hardware and software in order to make AR work.

Key hardware components required for AR are: 1) A Compatible Process 2) Display 3) Sensors, and 4) Input Devices. Whereas, AR software makes it possible to add augmentations in the real world by recognizing real world coordinates.  

Some of the most popular examples of augmented reality include Snapchat lenses and Pokemon Go. Ar vs vr vs mr - pokemon

What is the Point of Augmented Reality?

The goal of using augmented reality is to add virtual information to our real world using handheld devices like phone, tablets or AR glasses. Doing so will lead to a superior and more interactive experience. This additional information is normally in the form of images and text. Augmented Reality is showing rising usage in varied sectors like entertainment, manufacturing, marketing, education, and healthcare.

AR vs VR vs MR – Understanding the Difference in Simple Terms

This is a question that tech enthusiasts often ask us. Is AR significantly different from VR? Yes, it is.

We already explained how augmented reality works.

So, while AR ADDS to your real world experience, VR completely REPLACES it.

Simply put, when you wear VR goggles like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you are transformed to a virtual space or a 360-degree video. This virtual video is powered by LCD or OLED panels that are fitted inside your VR goggles. So, when you turn off your VR goggles, you will be plunged into complete darkness.

Additionally, VR goggles have graduated from three degrees-of-freedom (3DoF) motion tracking to six degrees-of-freedom motion tracking. VR goggles equipped with 3DoF motion tracking can detect rotational movement for the 3 axes – X, Y, and Z. So, if you move your head to the right or left, your VR goggles will detect this and change the virtual view accordingly.

However, 3DoF motion tracking does not record translational movement. In simple terms, this means that if you walk forwards, backwards, or sideways, this movement is NOT recorded.

For recording this translational movement, you need VR goggles equipped with 6DoF motion tracking like Rift or Vive. This will result in a more immersive experience as you can actually “walk and explore” a virtual VR space.

Compared to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality requires less resources/bandwidth since the entire scene does not need to be rendered. ar vs vr vs mr

Mixed Reality vs Augmented Reality

Now, we know how augmented reality differs from virtual reality. But, what exactly is mixed reality?

In simple terms,
Augmented Reality ENHANCES the real world environment
Virtual Reality REPLACES the real world environment
Whereas, Mixed Reality allows you to interact with virtual objects in a real world environment resulting in a more immersive experience


Still Confused? Remember Robert Downey Jr. a.k.a. Tony Stark furiously working in away his lab in the Ironman movies? You might recall how he interacted with virtual objects flying around in thin air. Yes sir. That is mixed reality for you.

And this technology is not a figment of our imagination anymore. AR vs MR vs VR

AR vs VR vs MR – Which Technology is the Best Option for You?

So, AR, VR or MR? Which is the best technology for you? There is no straightforward answer to this question. Ultimately, your choice depends on the application and your specific requirements. What is your primary objective for adopting a new technology?

A secondary factor albeit an important one is cost. AR is less costly and less resource intensive compared to both VR and MR and thus, more accessible.

Having said that, let first have a look at AR vs VR comparison.

AR vs VR

Ikea has been one of the early adopters of AR technology. Using the Ikea AR app, users can virtually place Ikea furniture in their own homes, and get a good sense of what to buy. Likewise, companies like Boeing and Renault are using augmented reality to train their employees.

Clearly, AR is the better option for such applications which require virtual augmentation of the real world.

However, for applications like tourism marketing, VR is a better option. Using a 6 DoF VR headset, we can create a digital walkthrough that will result in a far more wholesome experience.

AR vs MR
Mixed Reality allows users to interact with virtual objects resulting in a far more immersive experience. If it is not critically important for you that your users interact with the virtual environment, AR might turn out to the more practical and cost effective option.

AR vs VR – Which is the Better Option for Real Estate Marketing?

With the advent of newer technologies, using images and marketing videos has now become passé. More and more agents and builders are using AR and VR to market their real estate properties.

VR in Real Estate
As far as VR is concerned, Matterport is, by far, one of the most popular apps for creating virtual real estate tours. To create a virtual tour, you will need a compatible camera that works with the Matterport app.

Click here for a range of all compatible cameras.

Matterport’s own high-end camera, the Matterport Pro 2 comes with a hefty price tag of $3,395. Apart from buying the camera, you will also have to pay for the app. The monthly subscription for the Matterport app ranges from $0 to $309.

Pro Tip – You can create annotations in your Matterport model so that you can get a view of the property from the desired point.

AR in Real Estate
Vermeer (formerly Aerobo) is an excellent app that uses augmented reality to capture the perfect drone shot. Using Vermeer, you can move through a 3D model with your phone to design a flight path for a drone. Once satisfied, you can send this flight path to one of Vermeer’s drone pilots who will get the job done for you.

“All drones today are based around the principle that drones fly the camera. We built Vermeer so the camera actually flies the drone.”
~Brian Streem, CEO and Co-Founder, Vermeer

What is the Future of AR Technology?

According to Marketwatch, the global augmented reality market is expect to touch a mammoth $149 billion by 2025 with an annual growth rate of 55.73%. As technology becomes more affordable and advanced, this should give a fillip to the overall AR market. In this video, we get a “peek” into the future.

In this video, you will learn how mixed reality can be used on the manufacturing shop floor for more effective communication and a compressed workflow.

In this video, we have a technician dealing with a machine breakdown. However, he is dealing with an unforeseen situation which is not listed in his emergency manual. In a traditional work environment, this situation would take quite some time to resolve.

But thankfully, we have Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality to help us out.

Non-flustered, the technician pulls out his AR glasses to broadcast a video in real time to his head office to accurately showcase the exact nature of the problem. This is far more efficient than using emails or phones where much is loss in translation.

The personnel at the head office can immediately understand the problem on hand and send a set of instructions to the technician.

These instructions are visible in an AR/MR environment through glasses, phone or tablet. Because these are overlaid over the physical environment, it is far easier for the technician to follow these new instructions.

This simple example helps us understand how AR/MR technology will impact our society in future. As augmented reality becomes more powerful and more accessible, the lines between the real and the virtual will further blur leading to a more enhanced and immersive experience.

If you found this information useful, you might want to check out other blog posts as well. Watch this space for the latest and most exciting drone news and updates!

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