We come in peace. It was the year 2000 and the dot-com bubble burst twice as fast as it has inflated. Only taking up five minutes to boot, your personal computer is the best and the fastest available there is. Robots and artificial intelligence seem to be light-years away. You pressed your PC’s start button. Beep, beep, zip. Staring into the endless darkness of the cathode-ray monitor, you were unknowingly siphoned into the wormhole of today. Bleep. Welcome to the future.
With today’s technology becoming like our ever-expanding galaxy, there are inevitably things that get lost in translation. In a time where booting up is faster than the time, it takes to say the word “space oddity alternative reality”, slowing down is no longer an option. As creatives, we are often barraged with terms that are evolving every day.
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From terms such as the pictures, the silver screen, to the green screen, to pixels and NFTs, and AI, AR, VR, XR, and MR, there are a plethora of terms enough to conquer planet Mars. At times, these innovations make you feel like flying a spaceship through a black hole with no landing pad on sight. We understand how alienating that can feel. Hence, to make sure that no aliens are left behind, here is a decoded guide to help you armor up your ship and load your guns as you invade this ever-changing world of immersive realities:
1. AR- Augmented Reality
In simpler terms, to augment means to add, to improve, or to aid something. Augmented reality refers to adding a technological dimension to our daily lives with the desire to improve our daily interactions. Often used in commercial settings, devices such as smartphones, watches, and goggles are now being developed to aid in other fields as well.
AR is becoming useful in areas of medicine, machinery, and design. This technology enables artists, architects, and designers to visualize their space and art installations in real-time. It also enables clients to experience and imagine the design in their existing space, they are also able to try out different finishes and designs in real-time. Through remote interaction, AR also enables physically challenged individuals to partake in different activities and aid people in real-time all with the help of a single device and an internet connection.
2. VR- Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality refers to a simulated experience in a virtual world only existing within a certain program. Probably the most commonly heard term in the field, VR has been evolving since the creation of the View-Master in 1939, a device where one peeks through a viewfinder to look at scenes on a view reel. A whole new world altogether, VR is a more immersive version of Augmented Reality as it can allow you to take pick new identities, pick choices with little to no real-time worldly implications.
VR has already been in use in industries such as entertainment and role-playing game (RPG) for years. It has been proven to be useful in the field of tourism and is now slowly being utilized in industries such as healthcare and architecture. As for architecture and interior design, VR allows the user to experience the impact of a design or color choices in space through a simulation of a walkthrough. In construction, VR allows designers to be experimental in their work without the actual cost and intensive labor needed for mockups.
Unlike in augmented reality, where technology is only an additive intervention, Virtual Reality differentiates itself by immersing the users and enabling capabilities within this new world. Where AR can only show you how to fix your spaceship, VR can actually bring you to Mars without needing a spaceship, albeit within the confines of its digital world.
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3. XR- Extended Reality
Extended reality is simply a collective term to denote alternative realities such as AR and VR technologies. Simply put, XR is the code name used to refer to disruptive technologies that can help create new environments and varied realities. As Extended realities continue to prove their usefulness in industries such as architecture and design, it is without a doubt that this tech can be the normal thing in the future.
4. MR- Mixed Reality
With the advent of the digital age and the world becoming more connected than ever, it is inevitable that different worlds collide. Such is the case for mixed or hybrid reality.
Hybrid reality is seen as a child made between AR and VR, in hopes to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. As AR intervenes with your daily life through floating notes and prices float across screens, Mixed reality enables you to pay for it in real-time without opening your wallet.
Therefore, mixed reality meant landing on Mars, entering the grocery to pick a curious rock, and having it delivered to your doorstep all at the touch of a button.
As an artist, a mockup can be done through VR with AR identifying all its components and costs all the while scanning your model to forward it to a human engineer. Not only that mixed reality can impact retail and sales, but it can also allow you to break walls and create new ones in real-time, and share them with the team. This capability to share, edit and interact in real-time offers an efficient solution, especially with tricky projects.
With mock-ups and walkthroughs becoming the core of these digital cities, more designers will be engaged in helping create and experiment within these new worlds. It can now become a testing ground for new ideas and innovations without the expense and heartbreaks prevalent among projects.
Technologies of the Future
With the digital age acting as a wormhole to our ever-changing future, our perception will soon become our new reality. As technology develops, we can envision a future where tech realities are integrated within Artificial Intelligence and robots. This can only mean that exciting times are ahead of us and we can only hope for what the future can offer. Although terms such as AR, VR, XR, MR might sound like an encoded transmission from a distant galaxy now, we hope that this glossary has helped you in adapting your reality to our new world. Beep.