All you need to know about the next stage in the VR revo­lu­tion

Focus-Science and Technology - - Innovations -

Mixed re­al­ity? Is that the same as aug­mented re­al­ity?

Sort of. Mixed re­al­ity (MR) refers to any en­vi­ron­ment where vir­tual and real worlds col­lide. So that could mean aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) – where vir­tual ob­jects ap­pear in an on-screen rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the real world, à la Poke­mon Go – or it could mean a VR en­vi­ron­ment that lets you in­ter­act with real-world ob­jects. In other words, AR is one form of MR while both are, broadly speak­ing, forms of vir­tual re­al­ity.

Who are the key play­ers?

Mi­crosoft is lead­ing the MR charge with its Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity plat­form, for which head­sets are be­ing de­vel­oped by the likes of Asus, Len­ovo, Dell and Acer.

What’s the point?

Win­dows’ MR sys­tem uses less hard­ware than a ‘full’ VR setup – the move­ment of your hands, for in­stance, is tracked by cam­eras on your head­set, rather than by ex­ter­nal sen­sors – and no spe­cial soft­ware is re­quired, be­cause Win­dows MR will form part of new ver­sions of Win­dows 10. It’s there­fore a bit cheaper, though some com­menters have sug­gested that Mi­crosoft just wanted a buzzy new name for what’s essen­tially a late ri­val to the Ocu­lus Rift and HTC Vive plat­forms. The first Win­dows MR head­sets should start ship­ping soon.

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