Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality

What Are The Differences?

Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality – an Introduction

Can you still remember where you were when you first put on the Microsoft HoloLens headset? And what did you think of it at that time? A couple of years on from then, this is not such a strange question. After all, we can no longer get around the fact that at some time Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality will become part of our daily lives. Just like twenty years ago, when the Internet was the preserve of a single person and has already become one of life’s essentials, this technology will be another one that changes our lives completely. And possibly faster than you think.


All you actually need to start using some form of modified reality is a smartphone. Naturally the effect you get with an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Microsoft HoloLens is many times greater, but in principle a smartphone is enough. In 2018 just over 36% of the world’s population will have a smartphone, whereas in 2011 this figure was just 10%! Take a moment to think about this explosive growth and you will realize that there is huge potential here to do more with this technology. And manufacturers and developers are aware of this too…

Pokémon Go

In 2016, there was already a little taster of the success that Augmented Reality could potentially have, which was: Pokémon Go. It was a bizarre phenomenon that millions of people were addicted too for weeks on end (and some still are!). At its peak, almost 45 million people used the app on a daily basis, generating daily turnover of US$ 18 million! In February 2017, the developer broke through the magical threshold of US$ 1 billion of turnover, just seven months after the app was launched.
source: Apptopia

What are the differences between the three reality technologies in practice?

picture: Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality at a glance

Virtual Reality (VR)

When you as the user put on a VR headset (including headphones), you are detached from reality and become completely immersed in a virtual 3D world. The gaming industry is investing heavily in the development of VR, primarily because the technology is now powerful enough to create it. The most popular VR headsets include the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.

Augmented Reality (AR)

A good example of this is the head-up display that some car makers offer you, where a 2D image is projected in the driver’s field of vision. Another popular example is the Google Glass, which was launched a few years ago. These glasses are still in use at many companies (especially in the production department), with a new Glass for Work being launched recently.

Mixed Reality (MR)

At the current time, there is really only a single manufacturer who is offering a MR device and that is Microsoft with its HoloLens. This projects an image for both eyes onto transparent lenses, which results in a realistic implementation of 3D images in the real world. This amazing technology is something where you can really say ‘seeing is believing’. So, to experience it for yourself, please contact one of our account managers, who will be happy to let you try out the HoloLens. Manufacturer Magic Leap has also had a HoloLens in development for some time now, for which expectations are high.

Getting acquainted with the HoloLens

Since the beginning of this year, we have been organizing HoloLens Quickstart Workshops at a number of our clients. These allow organizations to get acquainted with the HoloLens in a creative context. Every time I am amazed at how quickly people are able to ‘change gear’ and use it to develop properly usable scenarios as part of a team! Our partner InSpark has already successfully completed numerous superbly innovative projects at a huge range of clients, such as one recently for and at VolkerWessels.

What does the future hold for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality?

Microsoft is not resting on its laurels either and is expected to present the next generation HoloLens in 2019. In the meantime, partners such as HP, Acer and Asus will also be launching Mixed Reality headsets. These use simpler technology, making them more affordable for the ‘ordinary’ consumer. In line with the launching of these headsets, on 17 October 2017 Microsoft released the ‘Fall Creators Update‘ for Windows 10, which made Mixed and Augmented Reality available to the general public.
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Sven Lap

PyraCloud Engagement Leader

SoftwareONE Netherlands

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