Understanding Alternate Realities

Hi MUSUREs!

Juani and Alex here

We’re so lucky to live in this time period! With all the new technology that’s been coming out in the last decades, we’re now closer than ever to creating alternate realities in the digital world.

This may all sound a little futuristic, but it’s already a reality that makes a bit more progress every day, bringing forward new ways of life that just a few years ago were merely a dream.

We’re very excited to be part of this revolution, but we understand that it can all be a bit confusing. That’s why today, we’re bringing you a detailed guide so you can get up to speed and understand the many kinds of different realities that new techs are allowing us to explore. Check it out!

Immersive Realities

For starters, we should clarify that not all virtual realities are immersive. Videogames, for example, aren’t immersive because there’s a clear distinction between the reality of the game and the physical one. You don’t press the spacebar to jump in real life, do you?

There are also semi-immersive realities that incorporate both the physical and virtual world. An example would be flight simulators for pilots, with a “real” cabin and screens presenting a digital reality for people to interact with.

An immersive reality, then, is the one that manages, through technology, to make its users feel completely immersed in a space that’s somehow different to their physical surroundings.

This is achieved simply by recreating sensory experiences, altering several senses simultaneously, usually sight, hearing and even touch.

For a reality to be truly immersive, the world itself must feel as close as possible to what the user would really experience being there, this is why it’s key for it to be interactive, allowing the person using it to feel the weight of their presence in the world.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (or VR) is an immersive digital environment created by using advanced technology. You could also say it’s any experience that places its user in a simulated reality.

As we’ve said before, the level of immersion can vary, but in most cases Virtual Reality tries to be as immersive as possible and several systems (Like Oculus Rift or Valve Index) have been developed with this end in mind.

The key of VR is that it focuses on the creation of purely digital environments that try to interact with its user through new forms of stimuli and creating brand-new worlds for us to explore.

Augmented Reality

You could say Augmented Reality tries to do the opposite to Virtual Reality, being technology that tries to place the digital world inside the physical one.

Regardless, both realities are similar regarding their main goal: achieving immersion through technology. The key difference is in how they manage to get there.

AR may be one of the more accessible immersive reality resources, since nowadays it can be achieved with almost any smartphone. One of the best examples of this is Pokemon GO, which integrates the physical world in its system and encourages its users to interact with it through the game’s interphase.

Through Augmented Reality, the virtual world comes out into the physical one, creating new perspectives to understand the world that surrounds us.

Mixed Reality

Now we’re at Mixed Reality, which is capable of achieving amazing things through both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

Its focus is creating new ways of combining physical and digital worlds through natural and intuitive 3D interactions between people, technology and their environment. This generates a digital model of the physical space where the systems information can be overlapped, creating a new world of user interaction.

As you can imagine, this is no simple feat. It requires an advanced network composed of several systems of artificial vision, graphic processing, data, cloud storing and more, but these are all technologies that already exist and continue to evolve in exciting ways every day.

Extended Reality

Lastly, Extended Reality (or Cross Reality) is an umbrella term for several technologies that aim to make pre-existent systems more immersive or to create their own.

It can be applied to other terms we’ve already talked about, like Virtual or Augmented Reality. At its core, Extended Reality is any system that takes the interphase of a screen from “person to PC” and it modifies it, either by immersing the user in a virtual environment, augmenting virtual elements to the physical world, or both.

And that’s all! Obviously, some of these terms are used in different ways and overlap with each other, but we hope this little guide has helped you understand a bit better the incredible world of Digital Realities.

See you soon!

MUSURE world

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