- Augmented Reality
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
Mixed reality (MR) changes how we view and interact with the world, as it blurs the boundaries between what’s real and what’s virtual. Mixed reality examples, while still quite rare across the industries, promise to genuinely transform processes. It’s already started kicking into high gear with its offer of an entirely new hybrid environment.
Yet how does it do this? And what exactly does MR hold for the future? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some examples of mixed reality and discover how they’re being used to:
Mixed reality is a combination of physical and virtual realities, in which both digital and material objects can coexist and interact with each other. It incorporates aspects of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) but goes beyond these three concepts. Here’s a quick recap.
AR can help you see or display a virtual object in a physical world through the camera of your smartphone, tablet, or even a digital mirror in a shopping center. Snapchat filters, virtual makeup, and furniture fitting are good examples of AR usage.
In contrast, VR puts you in a completely virtual environment but requires specific equipment: a VR headset and controllers. VR is widely used in sports training and flight simulation, to say nothing of games, of course.
Built on these two realities, mixed reality apps allow you to manipulate and interact with elements of both the real and the digital world. For example, you can take a virtual box from your real bedside table, open it, and see what’s inside. MR is a kind of immersive AR, no longer tied to a limited screen or viewer. Instead, it uses special equipment: a headset or glasses with controllers, just like VR.
In a nutshell, mixed reality blends the real world with the virtual one by combining augmented reality and a lesser-known concept of augmented virtuality (like in video games, where real-life objects, e.g., players, are merged into a virtual environment).
As mixed reality technology spreads and its costs come down, the chances are high that it will be widely adopted in different sectors. If you’re wondering what that means, let’s dive deeper and see how MR is already adding magic to daily life and changing the way we interact with the world.
Mixed reality is set to become a game-changer in many areas of life. Previously a concept presented only at exhibitions, it’s now evolved to become quite accessible.
Here are some common examples of mixed reality applications and the benefits they are set to bring.
MR has opened the door to a brand new era in gaming by introducing the real world into an immersive gaming experience. Essentially, it allows us to add an extension to our real world, where we can manipulate physical and digital objects in real time.
Mixed reality examples in gaming are multiple, and the tech has many benefits for this field. One of them is bringing a social aspect to virtual gaming. Up to now, virtual games usually limited the perception of digital objects to the person wearing the headset, meaning the gaming experience they provided was entirely solitary. Mixed reality has the power to solve this problem by creating a communal virtual world. In other words, several users can share the gaming experience through multiple headsets.
Magic Leap, for instance, has already introduced influential mixed reality games. High-profile franchises such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Angry Birds, backed by NVIDIA’s Parker SoC (the Jetson Tegra TX2) processor and 120Hz refresh rate are worth trying.
Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 also offers several interesting mixed reality apps such as Fragments, RoboRaid, and ZARZL, although unlike Magic Leap, the HoloLens is more targeted at businesses and the education sector.
MR has massive potential in education, as it can make subjects interactive and therefore easier to learn. Even though it has only recently penetrated the teaching field, mixed reality has already shown impressive results. In a research study carried out by Microsoft, MR immersive experiences in universities led to a 22% improvement in test scores and a 35% increase in student engagement and retention.
But mixed reality examples in the educational field are not only limited to schools and universities. MR also makes it possible to learn and train simultaneously. For instance, mixed reality can provide workers with virtual exposure to complex and potentially dangerous equipment or scenarios that would typically be difficult to recreate in real life.
Medical students and doctors can use MR holograms to practice various complex procedures. One example is in cardiology, where MR can simulate the experience of doing surgical operations on a beating heart.
The use of mixed reality in learning offers many advantages over traditional teaching methods, including:
For sure, the cost of hardware and implementation currently constitutes a barrier to the widespread adoption of MR technologies in schools and universities. Still, as the mixed reality market grows, the costs will inevitably go down, and the technology is well placed to revolutionize and democratize education.
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MR technologies have all the prerequisites to become a powerful tool in improving business processes, too. Global companies are already investing heavily in MR to replace flat displays and keyboards with entirely new immersive experiences. Here are some of the promises that MR brings to business:
One mixed reality example comes from the French manufacturer Renault Trucks. The company has successfully adopted the HoloLens at one of their facilities to improve quality control for engine assembly operations. Now, instead of reading paper instructions, operators can get relevant information while they’re doing the job.
And retail? Many brands are already using augmented reality to grow traction and customer loyalty and, of course, drive sales. Mixed reality, in turn, has all the powers to bring retail to the next level.
One of the booming areas for MR in retail is merchandising. Typically, merchandising managers rely on a multi-page manual when configuring in-store layouts. Using MR holograms can save retail staff time by allowing them to experience how display units or store promotions will look before committing to their physical placement.
There’s no doubt mixed reality will have a massive impact on our lives in the future, as it revolutionizes the way we learn, collaborate, shop, play games, or spend our free time. Indeed, Statista predicts that the mixed reality market will boom in the next five years, to reach around $3.7 billion by 2025.
This should come as no surprise since MR not only places users entirely in a fictional world—it has the power to add intelligence to the virtual content around us. Mixed reality devices are hyper-aware of their real-world surroundings—they don’t just layer flat content on top of our view but take into account physics, gravity, and real-world dimensions to create immersive experiences. This means that mixed reality has the potential to replace our smartphones, computers, and TVs in the not-too-distant future.
The question for the industry is, will it really do that? Where will the majority of mixed reality examples be focused? A comprehensive study from UK-based technology analyst Juniper Research predicts that by 2024:
To meet these trend predictions, MR technology requires more enhancement, software, and content. But it’s already made a promising start, and given the possibilities it offers, it will continue to evolve.
Immersive technologies have the power to break down barriers to enhanced learning, collaboration, knowledge sharing, remote work, and many more. Some mixed reality apps are more accessible than others, like virtual games, for example.
Yet mixed reality can and will serve more serious purposes. It’s already outgrown its introductory phase and has moved into developing the stability and functionality needed for widespread personal and commercial use.
At Postindustria, we know what it takes to get companies up and running with AR, VR, and MR content. If you have some specific mixed reality examples in mind, drop us a line to tell more about your ideas. We can help you bring them to virtual life.