VR vs. AR vs. Mixed Reality: Differences and Applications

Hybrid Reality

Technologies that use software to generate realistic simulations, images, sounds,  and create an imaginary environment are gaining momentum.  These reality technologies are in work with societies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft to allow millions to experience these realities and attract a wider audience.

Here are some of the advanced technologies and their applications.

Virtual Reality VR

Virtual reality is an artificial digital, completely simulated environment that allows you to travel anywhere you want. It is fully immersed, you cant see the real world around you cause it replaces the real world with an imaginary artificial world.

VR has existed in one form or another for decades, but the modern version of the technology is a more immersive reality than the old ones. There are loads of definitions to define and describe virtual reality In more or fewer words, virtual reality is just that – a virtual world that gives you the experience of being somewhere else in a different time, at a different place – sometimes as far as an alien world, all without ever leaving your home.

With VR you can travel to the places you ever wished to go. You can enjoy this imaginary world with artificial sounds and real sensations and have an experience like never before. Imagine yourself sitting at the top of Eiffel Tower in Paris to travel in space around the moon. This is what VR is all about.

To experience VR, users require a device called VR headsets. VR headsets vary from company to company on basis of hardware, apps, and features. There are two kinds of headsets available in the market.

PC Connected Headsets

These VR headsets are connected to the computer or a gaming console that creates a high-quality virtual world, hence the name. The performance of the PC overall should be high-end, so they can generate a better 3D simulation.

These VR headsets come with controllers. With these controllers, people can actually interact with the virtual world they are immersed in. For example, if a user is playing a game like warfare, or wrestling, he can actually use these controllers to action in 3D games. PC connected VR headsets provide the engaging VR experience ever.

The best and most popular PC-connected VR headsets are PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and HTC Vive Pro.

Standalone Headsets

As the name suggests these headsets are wireless, as these headsets don’t need to be connected on a PC or console. These standalone headsets use a smartphone screen to provide virtual world experience.

PC connected headsets are a lot expensive and only a few people spend money on them. Standalone headsets are affordable within reach of most people, user can simply insert the smartphone into the headset and enjoy watching movies, play games, and experience virtual reality.

Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, and Google Cardboard fall into this category. There are some standalone headsets that neither require a PC nor the smartphone, simply works on their own. The best example is the Oculus Go. This technology happens to be a game-changer in the world of VR.

Applications of Virtual Reality in daily life

Virtual reality is often associated with games and entertainment, but to be assured that not all. The most exciting thing about VR is that VR is just emerging and we’re discovering new ways to educate and entertain ourselves. Billions and Billions of dollars are poured into VR companies and we’re just getting started.

  • Healthcare

Virtual reality provides a platform in health and medicine by helping doctors to train for surgery. The 360 degrees immersions can give a deep look into a human body. Doctors can use VR to find diseases, damage organs, and train staff.

InCell VR is an educational gaming platform for students to learn and gain knowledge about the human body. A platform of science and the micro world related to a human cell.

  • Education

Apart from movies and games, VR can help students in their studies, History, and Geography of the world. Students can learn and memorize more easily with VR. Unimersiv is an app that offers VR educational experiences.

  • Travel

Virtual reality helps users to visit and explore new places. The virtual world helps to attract tourists from the world, also to promote business and traveling. The virtual simulation of the world’s famous places is the best way for people who have a hard time getting out to travel and get a tour of places they wish to see.

The best example of VR tech in the travel industry is Google StreetView which provides an active wide-angle view from positions along many streets in the world.

  • Marketing

The marketing industry has always been the one to adopt new technologies, thanks to VR. With VR, companies can expand businesses and engage in marketing campaigns to promote products and sales through media platforms especially for online shopping.

IKEA has developed a virtual reality app that provides a virtual view of a kitchen. Thanks to the room-scale motion tracking, you can easily walk around and do some of those basic kitchen tasks.

Augmented Reality AR

Augmented reality has been a game-changer in the modern tech but still a closed book for many people. Unlike VR, augmented reality imposes the computer-generated visuals on the real-world environment.   The overlay of digital content on the user’s view of the real world can be of various kinds like images, videos, signs and other data.

In other words, you can see the real world with virtual objects. For example, if want to buy a table lamp, AR can help you look over different lamps, pick the one that fits alongside the room.

You can use augmented reality without buying any accessories, like headsets or special eyeglasses. There are two ways.

Portable devices

Unlike VR, you can use augmented reality on smartphones and tablets to run AR applications. Augmented reality apps use a phone camera to of real-world environment and virtual objects are imposed and you can see them on your smartphone screen.

Probably the most famous example of augmented reality is Pokemon Go. Millions of people have played this game to capture virtual pokemon that only seen on the smartphone screen.

AR headsets and Smart glasses

Headsets or smart glasses are another way to experience AR. These headsets and AR glasses are not like VR headsets that submerge users into a fully virtual environment but rather overlay virtual objects to the real world. An example is Google smart glasses, in which digital data is generated in front of the user’s eyes.

Applications of Augmented Reality in daily life

Although Pokemon Go was a  terrific example of AR but augmented reality isn’t only about gaming after all. From medicine to maintenance augmented reality has a lot to offer.

  • Navigation

One particular use for AR is in navigation. Virtual objects overlaid and data generated on screen can show directions and guide people to locate places they want to go. With modern tech, companies and brands are using AR to attract people.

One of the best examples is Yelp, which shows you the hotels and cafes near to you.

  • Advertising

AR helps business associates and marketers to advertise and sell their products. AR ads are digital ads that not only promote sales and marketing but also awareness among people.

  • Manufacturing

AR technology is already making a mark in the manufacturing industry. AR aims to improve work, productivity, efficiency and reduce human error. With the assistance of augmented reality, the workers can train from AR gadgets to provide quality work and save time.

Upskill offers an augmented reality platform in the manufacturing industry. The world’s biggest corporations, for example, Boeing is already using AR for manufacturing purposes.

  • Maintenance 

Suppose you need to repair something that you don’t know of. You either ask a professional to do it for you or you spend a lot of time watching videos of how to do that. Well, there’s another option of augmented reality-that helps you to carry out maintenance and repair.

Big corporations can use augmented reality to perform the repair and facilitate maintenance in the industry.

Mixed Reality MR

In between virtual reality and augmented reality, there’s another platform called mixed reality MR.  Mixed Reality is very similar to AR, but a device can scan the real-world environment around you and can interact with that environment.

In simple words, MR  merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. It is also called hybrid reality.

Mixed reality exists in different forms – when the user interacts with a complete virtual world imposed on the real-world around them. Imagine that you’re using virtual reality but still in your room. By any chance, you stumble upon some physical object. To overcome this problem, a headset must be available to keep track of the real-environment and modify the virtual world according to that.

As VR and AR, there are different types of devices available in the market for different forms of mixed reality.

Holographic headsets

These headsets comprise translucent glasses that enable the user to clearly see the surroundings. A virtual environment is generated with the help of holograms. The best example is Microsoft’s HoloLens device.

Immersive headsets

These headsets have a non-translucent digital display that completely blots out the real world and uses a camera for tracking. Acer and HP windows mixed reality headsets fall in this category.

Applications of Mixed Reality in daily life

If you ever watch a science fiction movie and came across a scene in which you can see the holograms and you wonder “Is this possible real life?” Well! the answer is yes. Mixed reality works in that way and revolutionizing the technology as shown in Sci-fi.


Just like VR and AR, mixed reality is playing a vital role in education. MR provides immersive learning skills and helps students to see both real-world and holograms.  From playgroup to high school, from college to universities, MR offers its role.


Mixed reality allows people to have an immersive communication between each other. By using headsets, employees can take instructions from employers sitting on another corner of the world.


Mixed reality facilitates industries such as manufacturing, maintenance, structural engineering, and technical support. Workers can see holograms and know what to do. This improves the efficiency of the work, saves time and reduces human error.

Big corporations like Renault, use MR for manufacturing, repair, and quality.


The world is evolving with all three fascinating technologies, VR, AR, and MR. It can be difficult for the user to select one of these. While VR is for the virtual environment, AR is a real-world environment with overlaid virtual objects, and MR is a real-world environment with displayed virtual objects to represent a more realistic interaction.

These technologies tools that help us share information like never before. They can be used as incredibly powerful emotional engagement tools allowing us to build fellowship towards an audience far beyond what TV, computers, or the internet used to offer.

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