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What is Mixed Reality?

Is the next evolution for Virtual Reality a mixture of VR and AR? Read on to find out more

Is the next evolution for Virtual Reality a mixture of VR and AR? Read on to find out more


Virtual reality consists of creating new worlds to immerse yourself and others within. It replaces the world you see with one created for you. There are inherent problems with this when it comes to locomotion – it’s best experienced standing in one place or sitting in a swivel chair so that the user is not getting tangled in the cords, or bumping into real-world objects. Most VR applications do not take into account the actual physical surroundings of the user.

Augmented reality deals with creating overlays onto the real world in order to enhance it in some way. AR takes into account the world around you, letting you see it and navigate within it but also changes it in ways to make it more useful or provide new experiences interacting with it. You can walk around with AR devices untethered by cables. There’s typically a camera which you may see through, or perhaps light is projected directly onto the retina to create pixels that appear to the user to be in the real world. This is the area that products like MagicLeap ( are concentrating on.

They’re fairly independent concepts but already we’re looking for ways to make them converge. Imagine a device that could let you see and interact with the real world until you want to watch a movie with your friends in VR. At that point it would take up your entire field of view and provide a more virtual experience rather than augmented.

The web is a concept that works with both, either by re-imaging webpages as virtual places you can interact with, or by overlaying information from the web onto existing real world objects. The point is that the underlying network of the internet itself can be applied to and can support both mediums in very useful ways.