Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – The terms you need to know

It’s a never-ending story. With every new technology that comes onto the market, the creativity of companies begins to explode. New terms for every aspect of innovation are developed and the customer and user quickly lose track of the meaning of all the words and abbreviations. This is what happened with virtual reality and augmented reality. AR, VR, MR, 360° and CGVR – but what does it all mean? An insight into the terms…


Virtual Reality

A Virtual Honeymoon to London and Hawaii (Source: Marriott Hotels)


Virtual Reality is a term that many people can use today. Virtual reality is the umbrella term for all immersive experiences that can be generated from purely realistic content, computer-generated content or a mixture of both types.



360° Videos

Superman Roller Coaster 360 VR POV Six Flags Fiesta Texas Virtual Reality (Source: Theme Park Review)


This basis is important because many people talk when they see 360° videos often from VR. A 360° video is an immersive experience in which a real environment has been recorded beforehand. This form of virtual reality is not dissimilar to a classic video as it is a reflection of reality.


Computer Generated VR

Marvel’s Iron Man VR – Announce Trailer | PS VR (Source: PlayStation)

Especially from VR games you know this kind of virtual reality. The exclusively computer-generated content is free from any influence of the real world. They immerse the user in a world created for this purpose.


Augmented Reality

Ikea’s new augmented reality app will change the way you decorate (Source: Vogue Living)


In contrast to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is a superimposition of the real world with virtual content. One often sees through the headset or smartphone the real world, which is proverbially augmented. However, these overlays are not anchored in reality or part of it, so real content and computer-generated content cannot react to each other.


Mixed Reality

HoloLens 2 AR Headset: On Stage Live Demonstration (Source: UploadVR)


It’s different with Mixed Reality. MR is an overlay of synthetic content in the real world. The special feature of Mixed Reality, as known from HoloLens, is that the virtual objects are anchored in the real world and can interact with real objects.


This list shows that there are some similarities and differences in immersive technology. Especially as a company planning its own VR or AR application, you have to know the difference in order not to make a mistake in communication.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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