Extended reality (XR), is the core technology that provides the building blocks of the Metaverse. XR is an umbrella term for all computer-generated technology that creates human to machine combinations of reality. XR includes the entire spectrum of virtual technology in the reality–virtuality continuum scale that ranges from reality to fully immersive virtual reality experiences. XR incorporates augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR), and it is this convergence of technology that is core to the Metaverse. So what’s the difference between AR, MR and VR, the components of XR?
Virtual reality (VR) immerses people into a completely computer-generated world where the surroundings are all virtual and experienced in 3D. Augmented reality (AR) combines the real world with computer-generated visuals. Mixed reality (MR) is similar to augmented Reality but allows you to interact with virtually created objects using eye and hand tracking.
VR can be experienced on Metaverse today with platforms such as Horizon Worlds, AltspaceVR, and CEEK. These platforms transform the user into a completely simulated world. AR Metaveres include OVER where graphics are projected into real-world environments and MR Metaverses can be seen on new platforms such as Microsoft Mesh where the user can manipulate and adapt holographic virtual objects.
In the future, we may experience an extended reality Metaverse through contact lenses. Silicon Valley startup Mojo Vision has developed an augmented reality contact lens which projects images directly to the retina. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink goes even further and can hardwire the brain. Extended reality is to become an integral part of everyday life as we enter a new era where technology merges with perception.