Mixed Reality is a blend of physical and digital worlds, unlocking the links between human, computer, and environment interaction. This new reality is based on advancements in computer vision, graphical processing power, display technology, and input systems. However, the term Mixed Reality was introduced in a 1994 paper by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino, “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays.” Their paper explored the concept of the virtuality continuum and the categorization of taxonomy applied to displays. Since then, the application of Mixed Reality has gone beyond displays to include:
- Environmental input
- Spatial sound
- Locations and positioning in both real and virtual spaces
Environmental input and perception:
Over the past several decades, exploration into the relationship between human and computer input has continued, leading to the discipline known as human computer interaction or HCI. Human input happens through different means, including keyboards, mice, touch, ink, voice, and even Kinect skeletal tracking.
Advancements in sensors and processing are creating new areas of computer input from environments. The interaction between computers and environments is environmental understanding or perception, which is why the API names in Windows that reveal environmental information are called the perception APIs. Environmental input captures things like a person’s position in the world (head tracking), surfaces, and boundaries (spatial mapping and scene understanding), ambient lighting, environmental sound, object recognition, and location.
The combination of all three – computer processing, human input, and environmental input – sets the stage for creating true Mixed Reality experiences. Movement through the physical world translates to movement in the digital world. Boundaries in the physical world influence application experiences, such as game play, in the digital world. Without environmental input, experiences can’t blend between physical and digital realities.
The Mixed Reality spectrum:
Since Mixed Reality blends both physical and digital worlds, these two realities define the polar ends of a spectrum known as the virtuality continuum. We refer to the array of realities as the Mixed Reality spectrum. On the left-hand side, we have the physical reality that we as humans exist in. On the right-hand side, we have the corresponding digital reality.
Augmented vs. virtual reality
Most mobile phones on the market today have little to no environmental understanding capabilities. The experiences they offer can’t mix physical and digital realities. The experiences that overlay graphics on video streams of the physical world are augmented reality. The experiences that occlude your view to present a digital experience are virtual reality. The experiences enabled between augmented and virtual reality form Mixed Reality:
Starting with the physical world, placing a digital object, such as a hologram, as if it was there.
Starting with the physical world, a digital representation of another person–an avatar–shows the location where they were standing when leaving notes. In other words, experiences that represent asynchronous collaboration at different points in time.
Starting with a digital world, physical boundaries from the physical world like walls and furniture appear digitally within the experience to help users avoid physical objects.
Most augmented reality and virtual reality offerings available today represent a small part of this spectrum and are considered subsets of the larger Mixed Reality spectrum. Windows 10 is built with the entire spectrum in mind, and allows blending digital representations of people, places, and things with the real world.
STG Offers the following Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR) Services:
- Enabling businesses with immersive technologies to drive maximum value
- Providing differentiated CX to help in improving and retaining customer loyalty
- Helping enterprises deliver enhanced and contextual experiences to their end clients
- Transforming interactions throughout the customer experience and Industry 4.0 touchpoints
- Helping our clients rapidly unlock value from their immersive technology business use cases just as the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds is accelerating.