Mixed Reality (MR)

Your constantly-updated definition of Mixed Reality (MR) and collection of videos and articles

What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

Mixed reality (MR) refers to the blending of the physical world with the digital world. It allows the superposition and interaction between digital elements and the real-world environment to varying degrees. MR experiences can fall anywhere between the ends of the virtuality continuum. 

In MR experiences, the user is not bound to a screen and can interact with both the digital and the physical elements.

In the video below, you can see how digital objects interact with physical objects in an MR experience.

© Microsoft HoloLens, Fair-Use (link)

This video shows how MR experiences blend the physical and digital worlds. As you can see, the same experience would be different if the user was in a different place. The MR experience adapts to the user’s physical environment. Therefore, MR technology needs to get data from the physical environment to be able to construct the digital elements accordingly. MR requires advanced input methods and environmental perception.

MR includes any reality-altering technology and is not limited to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

AR vs. MR vs. VR. In AR, we see a digital robot superposed to a person. In MR, we see a digital robot shaking hands with a person. In VR, we see a fully digital environment where the robot and the avatar of the person are dancing.

In MR experiences the user can interact with both digital and physical elements. MR differs from AR—where digital and physical elements don’t interact— and VR—where the physical or real world is completely blocked out.

© Christian Briggs and the Interaction Design Foundation   

What is the Difference between AR and MR?

The main difference between AR and MR is that in AR experiences digital elements are overlaid on the physical world in real time but there is no interaction between them. AR technology allows the superposition of a digital layer on top of the physical world. Instead, in MR experiences digital elements are not only superposed upon the real-world environment but also interact with it.  

What is the Difference between VR and MR?

The main difference between VR and MR is that in VR experiences the physical world is completely blocked out. Instead, MR experiences blend the digital and the physical world to any degree. Therefore, VR technology completely ignores the environment which the user is in, whereas MR experiences process the environment which the user is in and include it in the experience. Similarly, in a VR experience, the user only interacts with the virtual environment, whereas in an MR experience, the user interacts with both virtual and physical elements. 

Learn More about Mixed Reality

Learn how to design your own XR experiences with our course: How to Design for Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Watch the How To Influence Behavior Through Virtual Reality Narratives on-demand Master Class by VR pioneer Mel Slater.

Literature on Mixed Reality (MR)

Here’s the entire UX literature on Mixed Reality (MR) by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Mixed Reality (MR)

Take a deep dive into Mixed Reality (MR) with our course UX Design for Virtual Reality .

Virtual reality is a multidimensional universe that invites you to bring stories to life, transform digital interactions, educate with impact and create user-centric and unforgettable experiences. This course equips you with the skills and knowledge to embrace the possibilities and navigate the challenges of virtual reality.

UX Design for Virtual Reality is taught by UX expert Frank Spillers, CEO and founder of the renowned UX consultancy Experience Dynamics. Frank is an expert in the field of VR and AR, and has 22 years of UX experience with Fortune 500 clients including Nike, Intel, Microsoft, HP, and Capital One.

In UX Design for Virtual Reality, you’ll learn how to create your own successful VR experience through UX design. Informed by technological developments, UX design principles and VR best practices, explore the entire VR design process, from concept to implementation. Apply your newfound skills and knowledge immediately though practical and enjoyable exercises.  

In lesson 1, you’ll immerse yourself in the origins and future potential of VR and you’ll learn how the core principles of UX design apply to VR. 

In lesson 2, you’ll learn about user research methods, custom-tailored for the intricacies of VR.

In lesson 3, you’ll investigate immersion and presence and explore narrative, motion and sounds as design tools. 

In lesson 4, you’ll delve into interface and interaction design to create your own user-friendly, compelling and comfortable VR experiences.

In lesson 5, you’ll gain insights into prototyping, testing, implementing VR experiences, and conducting thorough evaluations.

After each lesson you’ll have the chance to put what you’ve learned into practice with a practical portfolio exercise. Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll have a case study to add to your UX portfolio. This case study will be pivotal in your transition from 2D designer to 3D designer. 

All open-source articles on Mixed Reality (MR)

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