What you should know about mixed reality

Here's a look at where mixed reality is heading and how it will change what we think of as the 'real' world and collaborate at work.

windows mixed reality viewer app

Forget augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR); mixed reality (MR) is set to change the way we think about how the real and the virtual interact.

MR is the merging of the real and virtual worlds to “produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time” and has applications across a range of areas from communications to entertainment and logistics. Proponents argue it can extend the Internet of Things (IoT) in new directions, too.

Despite recent hype, there continues to be a debate about what MR really is, whether it exists at all and what companies like Microsoft are doing with it

What is mixed reality?

Daniel Eckert, PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Managing Director of Emerging Technologies, believes that, unlike AR, MR requires a Head Mounted Display (HMD). Rob Minson, CTO at Fracture Reality, explains that MR combines the immersive capabilities of VR – a head-mounted optical device rather than a small mobile phone window – with AR’s ability to bring data into the physical world. This powerful combination makes it a medium suited to both consumer and enterprise domains and marks a new paradigm in the way people interact with today's data-rich world.

For Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan, Director of Communications for Windows and Devices, mixed reality describes the continuum between the physical and digital worlds, from augmented reality to virtual reality and everything in between. 

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