Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) – where to begin?
Don’t worry, that is why we are here to help! As learning professionals, it is our job to keep on top of our skills while keeping our eyes on the future…sorting through the fads and gadgets to see what will be ‘sticky’…what will truly be the new way of doing things.
Extended Reality is the most widely used umbrella term for all of the ‘realities’: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
At the Realities360 Conference – a leading event in the learning technologies sphere, all manner of learning tools and gear were demonstrated, debated, and tried on for size. We were there – and we’ve put together a short summary of the most important information you need to know.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality brings information/training/experiences to you, and the environment you are in.
Who remembers Pokemon Go? That is a perfect example of Augmented Reality – adding a layer of computer-generated images/sounds/motion over top of our real-world environment. AR allows us to visualize something in our space, that’s not really there. This is usually accomplished through hand-held mobile devices or ‘wearables’, such as Google Glass, which still allow you to see the world around you. AR is most useful as performance support and just-in-time access to information.
You might consider using AR to help a new mechanic picture where a car part goes under the hood or, in a manufacturing setting, being able to see which buttons to push, in which order.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality brings you to a different environment, totally separate from the one you are in now.
With VR, you fully submerse someone into an experience, and their entire range of vision is replaced with imagery, VR is usually motion sensitive to some degree. It involves wearing a full headset and potentially headphones for sound, together with some form of handheld remote or sensor. This is used often for experiential learning in situations where it would be impossible, impractical, unsafe or inconceivable for someone to experience it themselves, such as flying over the ocean or witnessing a traumatic event.
This kind of training is particularly useful in dangerous settings such as mining and the nuclear industry where there is a high level of risk associated with a new worker. It can also be used in less risky environments, but ones that can be challenging to recreate in a training environment – like requiring someone to perform a set of steps in a crowded, noisy room, or simulate working from heights.
Mixed Reality (MR)
MR is an ‘enhanced’ form of Augmented Reality (AR). With MR, the virtual objects seen in your reality are connected or hinged to your reality. To use the example of the car part, if it was a muffler, you would have to physically bend down to see it under your car.
Rather than displaying simple images like Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality puts fully digital 3-D objects into the user’s environment. You can view and manipulate things from different angles. This type of development is more demanding and time-consuming, therefore MR hasn’t hit the market as strongly…at least not until more testing occurs, and it becomes more cost-effective.
This is a fantastic type of training to use to support medical personnel during surgical procedures, complex wiring work for electricians, or even manipulating architectural drawings in 3-D to get it ‘just right’.
These technologies are here, with several companies already firmly in the XR space including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Wal-Mart, Volkswagen and more.
Do you have a problem you are trying to solve and think you may be able to make use of XR? Talk to us, we can help you work through solutions that make sense and make the most of your budget. Most importantly, we design training that sticks!