XR technology or Extended reality technology originated from the combination of real and virtual environments. This deals mostly with human-machine interactions created by computer technology and other wearables. The field of XR technology comprises of augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and Virtual reality (VR). These realities have long been utilized to assist humans in interacting with machines in a more realistic way we can ever imagine. XR is a rapidly growing field with lots of applications in the areas of entertainment, real-estate, remote work, training and marketing.
What is an extended reality (X Reality)?
This is the body that comprises all forms of immersive technologies such as VR, AR, MR and those about to be discovered by scientists. The use of X reality is to create a perfect blend between the world we live in and the ones we experience on a screen. It creates the ideal combination of real and virtual worlds via the provision of a fully immersive experience. XR is gaining more and more popularity every day. Recent research shows that XR will be mainstream in the next five years.
To have a better grasp of what XR technology means and the various benefits it can serve to provide users, we must define the three components that make up extended reality.
Augmented reality (AR)
If you are familiar with Pokeman Go game or ever used Snapchat filters, then you are interacting with augmented reality. This involves the process of overlaying virtual information and objects in the real world. AR creates a good avenue for enhancing the experience in the real world with digital details involving the combination of texts, images and animations. The benefits of AR are accessed with AR glasses or via smartphones, tablets and screens. The use of these devices simultaneously reduces the chances of isolating users from the real world while conceding their interaction to observe the occurrence.
Virtual reality (VR)
Contrary to what is obtainable in AR, Virtual reality (VR) offers users with a fully immersive experience where they can interact with a simulated digital environment. Before accessing this world, users are required to put on a head-mounted display or VR headset. This creates the perfect connection between the real and virtual world with a 360-degree view of the artificial world. This fools the brain into believing what it sees. The everyday use of VR is to simulate environments that allow users to walk on the moon, swim in the ocean or even fight zombies in games. Although the first cases of VR were most familiar with the entertainment and gaming industry, there are quite an increased body of interest showing how it can play significant roles in the military, engineering, construction and healthcare sectors.
Mixed reality (MR)
Just as the name implies, this is the co-existence and combined interaction of digital and real-world objects with one another in real-time. It is the most recent member of the X reality family and oftentimes referred to as a hybrid reality due to how it combines digital and real-world objects with ease. MR requires an MR headset that features a more processing power than what is obtainable in AR and VR. One of the most common forms of MR is Microsoft HoloLens which allow users to place digital objects into the room they are standing in. With this application, users can manipulate or move the objects to any position without restrictions. Most companies believe that utilizing mixed reality can help to make their businesses better by supporting initiatives and solving problems.
What is the application of Extended reality (X reality)?
- Promoting customer experience and marketing; The use of XR technology can serve to provide customers with an ability to try a product before purchasing it. Companies like Rolex are using an AR app that allows customers to try on their watches before purchasing them.
- Real estate: engaging buyers will be easier if they can just walk through a listed property and see what it has to offer without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices.
- Training and education: XR technology is one of the best alternatives in a life-and-death circumstance where soldiers and doctors can be trained to understand what they may be up against on the battlefield or operating room. Other professionals like astronauts, chemists, and pilots, can be trained on what to expect while working on the field, thus keeping them sufficiently prepared for the challenges ahead. This improves the professional’s ability to respond to emergencies or stressful situations.
- Entertainment: this is one of the first to adopt the use of XR technology to improve user experience by offering more realistic games.
- Remote work: XR technology is changing the face of work as workers can now connect with team members all over the world. This improves communication and the sharing of ideas.
What are the challenges of XR technology?
Requires a great deal of personal data to run smoothly
Developers or XR technology are battling with lots of challenges, including those relating to mainstream adoption. Since XR technology functions by collecting a great deal of personal data from the users, there is a growing body of debate promoting why it should be banned in several regions of the world. XR technology digs deep into your emotions, what you look at, and how you respond to information on the Internet.
It is costly
The cost of implementing XR technology is on the high side. Only a few companies can afford this fee, thus limiting the use of the technology among the privileged few. To gain full experience from XR technology, you will need a combination of wearable devices that are fashionable, comfortable and can remain connected always. The devices must be intelligent and immersive.
Using XR technology may require a proficient control over hardware challenges such as motion tracking, power and thermal, display, connectivity and common illumination that forms the best correlation between real-world and virtual objects. The hardware must be top-notch to make these virtual objects indistinguishable from the real ones.
Chuah, Stephanie. (2019). Wearable XR-Technology: Literature Review, Conceptual Framework and Future Research Directions. International Journal of Technology Marketing.
Scribani, Jenny. “What Is Extended Reality (XR)?” Visual Capitalist, 12 Mar. 2019, www.visualcapitalist.com/extended-reality-xr/.
“The Most Amazing Real-World Examples Of Mixed Reality.” Bernard Marr, bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1916.