Understanding Extended Reality (XR): An Immersive Technology Overview

02/13/2024 12:24 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

Extended reality, also known as XR, is an industry term that encompasses a wide range of immersive reality design solutions. It includes augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and 360 video. While AR and VR are the most widely recognized immersive technologies, XR is often used to describe the broader spectrum of these innovative experiences.

What makes each of these technologies unique?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that enhances the real world by overlaying digital data onto it. With a smartphone, tablet, or pair of smart glasses, AR allows users to interact with virtual elements in real-time while still being aware of their physical surroundings.

Virtual reality (VR) creates a completely immersive digital environment that transports users into a simulated world. Users wear headsets or goggles that block out their view of the real world and replace it with a computer-generated one. 

Mixed reality (MR) combines elements of both AR and VR, integrating virtual objects into the real world, allowing users to interact with them as if they were physically present. MR enables users to see and manipulate virtual entities within their actual surroundings in an interactive and engaging manner.

Each of these technologies has its own unique capabilities and applications. AR enhances our perception of reality by adding digital information to our physical environment, VR provides fully immersive experiences in virtual environments, while MR merges these technologies to create interactive experiences that blend the virtual and real worlds together. 

Where can I experience XR applications?

XR applications may seem like something best suited for entertainment purposes.  Perhaps the most familiar of augmented reality applications has been Pokemon Go (Pikmin Bloom was a good follow-up game in a similar vein).  The newly released Microsoft Mesh world is an immersive virtual reality world, albeit one that is accessible on the desktop via a Teams viewer, that appears to be more frivolous than practical at this time. 

But there are practical, realistic learning applications for these technologies.

The most readily available may be on your smartphone, which may have an Augmented Reality translation app that can take an image of text and translate it into a different language.

What’s neat is that companies like Microsoft and Meta are making Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality L&D applications nearly as attainable as a translation app. 

That’s what we’ll be showcasing this Leap Day at CraneMorley.  You’ll get a chance to experience multiple use cases in which either Mixed Reality or Virtual Reality addressed a training need in a unique and innovative way that enhanced the learners’ ability to achieve learning objectives. You’ll find that these applications can be well suited for a variety of industries, from automotive to manufacturing, from healthcare to utilities.

Want to see this for yourself?  Don't miss your chance to experience virtual and mixed reality learning applications!

Experience eXtended Reality (XR) Applications in Learning and Development ~ Training & Technology SIG

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