What is XR, AR, VR, and MR?

Are you confused about VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), XR (Extended Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality)? For you, these terms are almost synonyms and you find it difficult to tell the difference?

This quick guide is for you.


Extended Reality is an umbrella term that refers to all the combined real and virtual environments and interactions generated by computer technology. It includes augmented reality, mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR).

“XR is not about the future – it’s already here,” says Thomas Walter, section manager, strategic product marketing at NEC Display Solutions Europe.


Extended Reality (XR) technology is playing an increasingly important role in different industries, providing benefits in many aspects of work and including training, business, collaborative working, and marketing.

In education and training, XR bridges the gap between teachers and students/trainees, enabling closer collaboration even when people are taking courses remotely.

XR can speed up learning, helping companies save money on training.

It provides safe learning environments where students can learn from their mistakes without risk.

Extended reality also helps learners to stay focused and offers high engagement and knowledge ownership.

Providing immersive experiences enables brands to improve the way they market their products, bringing customers closer to their world.

Consumers can discover and view products before making a physical purchase.


Virtual reality is perhaps the one you are most familiar with.

VR is the term used to describe a three-dimensional computer-generated environment that can be explored by a person. This person is immersed in this virtual environment and, in most cases, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.

Many people are familiar with virtual reality through the use of Head Mount Devices (HMDs) like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Google Cardboard. What the public is less aware of is that there are many types of virtual reality systems, such as virtual reality caves or virtual reality theaters developed for use in scientific and technical industries.


In research and development, design and overhaul, education and training, virtual reality (VR) offers a wide range of applications for businesses and organizations.

In engineering, for example, VR gives companies a way to demonstrate products and services and to visualize the results to customers.

Manufacturers can experience products before committing to producing them.

Virtual prototyping allows them to refine designs and solve problems earlier in the development process.

In training, Virtual Reality (VR) is having a marked impact in a large number of sectors, including medical, aerospace, military and sports.

Virtual Reality offers opportunities for iterative learning and repeated exercises in very realistic and stimulating environments.

Commercial applications of VR include the real estate market, where realtors can offer potential buyers virtual tours, even if they are still in the design or construction stage.

Virtual reality also provides very precise and detailed visualizations of architectural projects and renovations.

Virtual reality can also become a useful recruiting tool, giving candidates a snapshot of what it’s like to work in a specific role or environment.

  • Global automotive industry leader Hutchinson has installed Antycip’s immersive virtual reality rooms in its innovation and research center. The four-sided CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) allows Hutchinson to improve and develop the way in which it will prototype its projects.
  • The University of Bath now has a VR CAVE, consisting of an environmental chamber on a mobile hydraulic platform. It is a valuable research tool for studies that immerse people in different realistic environments.
  • Antycip provided a VR theater to the French higher education and research institute ENS Rennes to study the interaction and communication of sports teams in the field.


Augmented reality (or AR) is a technology that makes it possible to integrate virtual elements in 3D (in real-time) within a real environment. The principle is to combine the virtual and the real and give the illusion of perfect integration to the user.


Augmented reality offers a richer user experience while providing a cost-effective alternative to other media platforms.

It is particularly well suited to the growing smartphone market, integrating its technology into highly personal and mobile experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) has a range of important practical applications in different industries.

In the automotive sector, it is used with onboard instrument panels to provide drivers with useful and essential travel and technical information. It also provides virtual instructions for daily tasks, such as tire pressure checks and oil changes.

In education and tourism, AR can add additional layers of information to historical and cultural sites for users, experienced in real-time on-site.

For customers in the financial and banking industry, there are AR activated bank cards and geo-targeting apps to locate nearby banking establishments.

Retailers can use AR to deliver additional and dynamic branded content, provide product demos, and allow consumers to experience product benefits before purchase.

As with other XR technologies, AR also includes in-depth analytics, which is extremely useful for providing customer feedback, marketing data, and individual performance reviews.


Mixed Reality (MR) encompasses devices that allow interaction between the virtual world and the real world, between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. To experience MR, you will need an Augmented Reality helmet such as Hololens or Magic Leap. With these devices, the user’s position is calculated in real-time and it is possible to physically interact with the virtual elements by gestures or joysticks.


The physical and digital combination of MR brings significant changes to the mainstream in various industries, including manufacturing, design and construction, medicine, education, and research.

Call engineers can use mixed reality to access up-to-date information and remote expert support while remaining hands-free to apply that knowledge virtually on-site.

Quality controllers in manufacturing can overlay information from “head displays” (HMDs) and portable devices, thereby speeding up quality assurance processes and reducing errors.

MR enables intensive on-the-job training, combining practical instruction with digital information.

It can also speed up the training process and help companies close the skills gap.

Remote experts provide over-the-shoulder support to employees and operators in the field through hands-free Mixed Reality (MR) devices.

Mixed reality opens up new opportunities for collaboration by bringing multiple MR devices together in shared spaces.

Here, teams can network in a virtual world superimposed on the physical environment.

RM is changing the way people work, learn and live, and it has the potential to develop further to improve and strengthen businesses and organizations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *