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Extended Reality 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Extended Reality

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Extended Reality includes the immersive technologies that are operational when virtual graphics blend with real-world elements of sight, sound and touch which is the combination of the physical and virtual worlds to create interactive experiences.

Extended Reality includes Augmented reality (AR), Virtual reality (VR), and Mixed reality (MR)
Augmented reality is when virtual objects and imaginations are projected into the real world. Here the user with the help of computer-generated information is blended into the real environment, which gives him a feeling of being put into the virtual world. The most common example is the IKEA mobile app which used augmented reality so that the users can interact with the real as well as a virtual world with the help of digital gadgets. IKEA has room designing software where the user can configure his room floor details and browse through the store’s gallery for interior and furniture needs, to see if the proposed design would fit his room’s layout before purchasing it.

Other examples of Augmented reality are Snapchat filters, Virtual makeup apps, etc. which create a sense of immersion.

Virtual Reality (VR) is when the user is put into a simulated digital environment, where the individuals use special VR devices to get a 3600-view of the virtual world.

Cutting edge capabilities of the computer graphics and artificial objects enhance the virtual environment. VR was initiated basically by gaming and entertainment industry in the beginning but now they are recognized to be useful in several industries like healthcare, tourism, real estate, automotive industry, architecture etc.

Mixed Reality (MR) is a combination of both AR & VR, where the user can interact with the virtual and real world simultaneously. With the use of advanced computer technology, graphics and input systems, user’s can co exist in both the environments by using the MR devices specially designed to visualize and move the digital objects in the real world. These special MR devices are more expensive as compared to VR devices. They also require higher processing power to function.

1. Cost: Compared to traditional learning methods, teaching and training through XR will be more uneconomical as the cost of implementing the technology is very high as it is a new technology.
    2. Adoption: XR is still a relatively new technology, and some industries may be hesitant to adopt it until it becomes more main stream.
    3. User Experience: Due to long duration usage, XR equipments like AR and VR pose certain health hazards like eye strain, head ache and nausea.
    4. Privacy and Security: Since XR devices create an environment based on the user’s requirement, the user’s privacy details will be used & giving out private information can be a worry on the user’s side. This can lead to legal implications. Storage of all such data can work out costly for the company
    5. Content Creation: The cost of producing the content and hardware is high, due to which many companies are hesitant to enter the XR market.
Uses of XR:
    1. Gaming and entertainment industry is the biggest benefiter of extended reality with VR and AR being the most popular technologies. Through VR users can immerse themselves in a virtual environment, while AR overlays digital information into the real world.
    2. XR in the healthcare industry for medical training, patient care, and rehabilitation. Doctors can develop their hard skills like virtual surgeries and also virtually access patient files.
    3. XR in the education and teaching industry where the students can learn by interacting with virtual objects by using simulations and 3D projections. The students and trainees learn and practice skills in a safe and controlled environment like in medical training, aviation training, and industrial training.
    4. XR is used in the real estate industry where a walk-through 3D interactive model is created so that the customer visualizes the building and its surroundings without actually being there.
    5. XR can be used for remote working conditions allowing the employees to attend virtual meetings and work from home or any location in the world by visualizing the virtual workplace.
    6. XR can be used in the sales and marketing industry by directly giving the hands-on experience of the product/service to the customer through XR by visualizing products before making a purchase and in turn, the companies can benefit by spending less on advertisement costs.
    7. XR can be used in the tourism and hospitality industry, where tourists explore destinations and attractions virtually before visiting in person.
Overall, XR has numerous applications across various industries, and its use is expected to grow in the coming years.
Extended Reality (XR) refers to the use of technology to enhance or extend human perception and interaction with the physical world. Extended Reality has the potential to transform how we interact with the world around us by offering fully immersive experiences that enhance education, entertainment, healthcare, and business. While there are challenges to be addressed, such as cost and user experience, the potential benefits of XR make it an exciting technology to watch as it continues to evolve and grow.
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