By Stephen P. Kaputsos
Media technology is about sharing parts of our lives and world with one another. However, the confines of two dimensions have always posed a barrier to our senses and experiencing what's beyond our reach. Extended reality (XR) offers technologies that push beyond these barriers, making space a tool rather than a limitation.
XR technologies exist along a spectrum, progressively blending virtual and physical realities. On one end, virtual reality (VR) immerses users in a completely virtual environment. VR’s ability to transport the user into “another world” is ideal for simulating a variety of scenarios, which may benefit fields from training personnel to treating the ill, visualizing product and architectural designs, hosting virtual events, or administering therapy.
Conversely, augmented reality (AR) introduces virtual content to the physical environment. AR’s ability to transport content into our world leverages many of VR’s strengths while remaining grounded in physicality. Essentially, AR is akin to the CG effects and green screen techniques of the film industry in real time. Visualizing content within a physical context is ideal for communicating information that natural language and traditional visual aids simply cannot convey.