What is the difference between virtual, augmented and mixed reality

Mixed Reality Nov 17, 2022
Virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies are becoming more and more familiar to all people. This Article will help comprehend the differences between these concepts and the direction we are on.

When I was working for my startup project Qneus in January 22, I was developing software for mixed reality using Unity3D and MRTK, which has since been updated to MRTK2. I'll share a few quick lessons on developing for mixed reality in future articles.

Mixed Reality Device on which I was developing Software.

Large companies are betting on various variations of virtual reality. Over the past 15 years of research in this industry, it has naturally split into three distinct streams:

  1. Virtual reality.
  2. Augmented reality.
  3. Mixed reality.

Users are often lost in these concepts. Their boundaries are so thin that developers can start a project in one reality and finish it in another. I want to explain clearly how all kinds of reality differ.

Virtual reality

This is the most common type of fake worlds. To get into virtual reality, you need to wear fully enclosed goggles. Now they are made in the form of head helmets .

This technology is suitable only for entertainment, but virtual rooms are being developed for communication at a distance using avatars. The user puts a helmet on his head, picks up controllers, and a set of cameras captures his position and movement.

The technology has several disadvantages. Let's start with the most basic - a short time of use. The human brain is accustomed to maintaining balance as much as possible when moving. Using virtual reality, the user either stands or sits in one place. The eyes and brain perceive movement in the game, but the body does not move. This is the first cause of nausea and headaches.

They try to fix this by inventing virtual reality stands. A person is firmly fixed in one place, but can walk, run and rotate. All this is synchronized with the game world. So far, the technology is very crude. Even for commercial rental is not used.

Also, headaches are caused by low resolution displays in helmets. Now the industry agrees that a minimum 4K picture is required for both eyes.

Below I will attach a video clip from the game in virtual reality. So far, ideal VR can only be seen in science fiction films.

Augmented reality

Many Instagram account holders have used story masks. Another good example is Pokemon Go. That is, you need to pick up a smartphone or tablet, launch the application and you are already in augmented reality.

Augmented reality is painted pictures on top of the real environment. They exist only in the environment of a particular application. The program code can only display content, without a clear reference to the terrain.

On the example of the same stories, this is tying masks to the face. The image is not always superimposed clearly on the mouth, eyes and nose. In Pokemon Go, Pokemon themselves can walk on a plane, but they cannot hide behind some real object.

Until recently, augmented reality was considered the most promising. Below is a video with one of the examples of possible gaming reality and virtual desktop. It turned out that it is quite possible to make a more advanced technology, more on that later.

Mixed reality

At the moment, there is only a video with the possible operation of this technology. She is at the start. It may very well be that Apple's headsets will start with augmented reality, but will develop into mixed reality.

The bottom line is that developers are trying not just to display pictures on a transparent display, but to link content to real things. For example, a user puts on mixed reality glasses and looks at their payment card. Points show all banking information. He looks at the car, and he is given a squeeze of the current state, the level of filling the tank or battery charge.

Apple has already announced the complete transition of all technology to its own ARM architecture processors. At a much smaller size, they give decent performance.

Microsoft did good research and created a number of features for its Hololens 2 gadget that will alter the entire experience and the direction of the future. It has not yet been introduced in India.

Microsoft HoloLens | Mixed Reality Technology for Business
Introducing HoloLens 2, an untethered mixed reality headset that’s designed to help you solve real business problems today using intelligent apps and solutions.


Everything related to virtual reality is already becoming a part of our lives. We do not notice, but expensive VR headsets are becoming more affordable, and augmented reality elements are already perceived as natural entertainment. Many even make masks for social networks themselves and this is without special programming skills.

We are only at the beginning of the journey. What can already be used is still quite raw products or basic entertainment. I am glad that corporations with huge resources are looking in this direction. Let's employ these technologies to create a better future. Thanks!


Anurag Deep

Logical by Mind, Creative by Heart