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Extended reality



Augmented reality (AR) refers to an interactive experience in which technology infuses digital information into a user’s perception of the real world. That input — usually visual or auditory — appears essentially seamless to the user. Access to this world can be via head-mounted or hand-held equipment designed specifically for AR, or through a computer monitor, special eyeglasses, gaming devices, or even a smartphone.

A simple example of AR might be the projection of numerical data via Google Glass to inform a surgeon of a patient’s vital signs during a procedure.

Virtual reality (VR), can be defined as immersing a user in an entirely simulated environment.

Mixed reality (MR) takes technology further, blending real and virtual worlds in ways through which the physical and digital worlds can interact. One way to think about this difference is that while AR essentially creates a virtual overlay on top of the real world, MR does more to integrate virtual objects and input into the physical world. Thus, MR takes the user deeper into immersive learning.

A close cousin of MR, AR, and VR are sometimes grouped under the umbrella term XR, or eXtended reality.