Augmented Reality, Extended Reality, Virtual Reality

Comparing AR VR and XR

In this blog on Comparing AR VR and XR, I will compare these three technologies.

AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and XR (Extended Reality) are related but distinct technologies that offer different ways of interacting with the virtual and real worlds. Here’s a comparison of these three immersive technologies:

1. Augmented Reality (AR)

  • Definition: AR overlays digital information, objects, or experiences onto the user’s real-world environment.
  • User Interaction: Users can interact with both real and virtual elements simultaneously.
  • Use Cases: AR has applications in gaming (e.g., Pok√©mon GO), navigation, training, maintenance, and product visualization.
  • Devices: AR can be experienced through smartphones, tablets, AR glasses, or heads-up displays (HUDs).
  • Key Features: Enhances real-world perception, context-awareness, and often used to provide supplementary information.
  • Examples: Snapchat filters, Google Maps AR directions, and IKEA’s AR furniture app.

2. Virtual Reality (VR)

  • Definition: VR immerses users in entirely computer-generated virtual environments, blocking out the real world.
  • User Interaction: Users are fully immersed in a digital world and can’t see or interact with their physical surroundings.
  • Use Cases: VR is used in gaming, simulations, virtual tours, education, therapy, and training scenarios.
  • Devices: VR is typically experienced through dedicated headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR.
  • Key Features: Provides complete immersion, isolating users from the real world to create a simulated environment.
  • Examples: Playing a VR game, taking a virtual tour of a museum, or participating in medical simulations.

3. Extended Reality (XR)

  • Definition: XR is an umbrella term that encompasses AR, VR, and any combination of these technologies, including Mixed Reality (MR).
  • User Interaction: XR can offer a continuum of experiences from fully real (no augmentation) to fully virtual (no real-world interaction) and everything in between.
  • Use Cases: XR has applications in various fields, including gaming, education, healthcare, design, remote collaboration, and entertainment.
  • Devices: XR devices can include AR glasses, VR headsets, and mixed reality devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens.
  • Key Features: Provides a flexible range of immersive experiences, allowing users to choose the level of immersion.
  • Examples: Using a mixed reality headset to design a product while seeing the real world or switching between AR and VR experiences seamlessly.


In summary, AR enhances the real world with virtual elements, VR immerses users in entirely virtual environments, and XR encompasses both AR and VR, providing a broader spectrum of immersive experiences. The choice between AR, VR, or XR depends on the specific use case and the desired level of interaction with the real and virtual worlds.

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