04Feb 2022

What Is Extended Reality (XR) and How Is it Changing the Future?

Extended Reality (XR) is a term encompassing several different types of innovations in the field of technology.

Extended reality relates to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). All three are widely known, but what about extended reality?

What Is Extended Reality (XR)?

So, what exactly is Extended Reality? While it may seem like an extension of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality, the concept extends far beyond that; at least for now.

Extended Reality currently encompasses AR, VR, MR, and anything else in between.

If you’re having trouble envisioning Extended Reality in your mind’s eye, think of examples like Google Glass or HoloLens.

Image source: microsoft.com

Both products blur the line between man-made and natural reality, allowing us to blend the two in new ways.

Extended Reality is a bold new frontier for technology and human interaction.

Pillars of Extended Reality: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR)

All Extended Reality technologies fall into one of three categories: virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

Virtual realities are entirely artificial digital worlds created using computers to simulate environments.

Virtual reality gaming (image source: wikipedia.org)

Augmented realities use the real world as the background for simulated objects or information; they layer graphics over physical spaces.

Ikea AR mobile app (image source: ikea.com)

Mixed realities combine both simulated computer objects and practical elements in order to create a hybrid experience where the user can switch between what is real and what is fake at any time (and sometimes within moments).

Virtual Reality (VR)

The most well-known type of XR technology, virtual reality is any computer-generated experience that replaces the real world with a simulated environment.

Virtual realities are created using two different approaches: immersive environments or networked spaces.

Immersive user interfaces use programs to create artificial 3D worlds inside your headset while networked user interfaces send information to you through your headset while you remain in the real world (although perhaps hidden from view).

Applications for VR

VR offers developers an endless amount of possibilities; it’s no surprise it currently boasts more than three million unique users around the globe.

One of its most widely used applications in gaming. Gamers can interact with their favorite digital characters like never before, taking on numerous roles and engaging in adventures that were only imagined before.

VR Gameplay of Spider-man Homecoming

Challenges and current limitations of VR

Although it holds so much promise, virtual reality can be very difficult to produce at the level needed to make it mainstream.

We all know how incredible life-like video game graphics are; however, they cannot compare with real-life or even present-day photos.

This is one area where virtual reality lags behind augmented and mixed realities just yet but it is getting closer every day.

Additionally, users must wear a headset while using VR experiences; some people find this uncomfortable while others complain of eye strain after long periods of use.

While these limitations may dampen consumer interest in VR today, there’s no doubt that they will soon fade away as the technology gets better over time.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is any technology that augments your natural vision for the purpose of presenting information, objects, and environments.

Think of it as bringing another app or program into your real-world view! You can’t interact with the data in AR like you could in VR (without touching your device at least), but you can see it overlaid onto what’s already there.

This makes augmented reality the perfect complement to virtual reality; integrating both types of XR together increases their power exponentially.

The most popular example today is probably Google Glass – although this type of AR isn’t available to consumers just yet, many other forms are!

Everything from bright yellow Pokémon Go creatures appearing on streets across America to the lens on your smartphone camera are examples of augmented reality.

Pokemon go AR game (image source: pokemongolive.com)

Applications for AR

While virtual realities often change what users see, augmented realities allow them to interact with their surroundings in brand new ways.

The most widely used example today is probably Pokémon Go. Players can see digital creatures superimposed onto real-world images by pointing their smartphones at various locations—when they find one, they capture it!

Thanks to this game, one-third of all American millennials now use AR on a regular basis.

It’s also commonly used in work environments; many people use AR programs like Microsoft Hololens to streamline tasks and improve productivity.

Challenges and current limitations of AR

The biggest challenge currently facing augmented reality isn’t that its technology isn’t advanced enough—it’s that it doesn’t mesh well enough with real-life settings to become the mainstream hit experts predict.

We’ve all seen what Google Glass looked like – while it’s an amazing example of AR technology, many people were shocked to discover you could wear them in public!

The same is still true for most other forms of AR; they’re often too bright, flashy, or out-of-place for consumers (and even businesses) to accept wholeheartedly.

Additionally, some companies worry about data privacy when new technology like this appears; which is why there are currently laws preventing certain types of AR from being used at work.

Mixed Reality (MR)

MR occurs when virtual content interacts with the real world (or with augmented reality).

Games like HoloGrid that mix real-world objects into their gameplay are a great example.


Another uses special goggles to let you visit historic landmarks in interactive 3D – making the past come alive!

Mixed reality is also incredibly useful for people without disabilities; doctors can use MR tools for surgery, teachers can make classroom learning more exciting, and much more.

Applications for MR

Mixed reality lies somewhere between virtual and augmented realities! This allows it to be used in applications where other types of XR might not be appropriate or effective.

One example is NASA’s Planetary Skin project , which lets scientists access NASA data about other planets by streaming them mixed-reality experiences over the internet.

Thanks to this technology, we might one day be able to go on an alien planet walk or conduct experiments firsthand in outer space – without leaving the classroom.

Challenges and current limitations of MR

Mixed reality is still very new, so its current limitations aren’t completely understood yet.

The biggest problem facing this type of XR right now is probably making it work correctly with other technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality.

Nobody wants their mixed-reality holograms to pop up in front of them at random!

However, people developing within this field are determined to figure out these problems (and others) before long; for all we know, one day soon MR may become the most mainstream form of XR.

XR technology is growing quickly and many companies are using it for their business.

Some students are using XR technology in their projects to make learning fun and exciting for students.

How Extended Reality Works

Extended reality works using a combination of devices to achieve this end, although the methods differ from one Extended Reality product to another.

Headsets like the HoloLens and HTC Vive Pro employ different types of sensors to track movement in fine degrees so users can interact with their Extended Reality environments seamlessly.

Image source: vive.com

Others, such as Magic Leap One, use external cameras to project digital worlds onto real-world surfaces.

Some extended realities are even designed to work without requiring equipment at all; MetaSpace leverages mobile technologies for this purpose.

Extended Reality Applications for Business

As Extended Reality technology develops and becomes more widely available, it offers a number of exciting new applications for businesses.

Extended Reality offers superior training tools that allow employees to get hands-on experience in virtual worlds.

It also gives improved access to information, enabling users to quickly find key data points while working with real-life objects.

Extended Reality can even be the groundwork for mixed reality business meetings, where participants from all around the world can meet in a shared virtual environment.

Extended Reality is poised to change the future of work as we know it!

Challenges and Current Limitations of XR

There are several challenges associated with Extended Reality technologies at present, such as issues with battery life and storage space constraints on mobile devices.

Extended Reality also suffers from some cultural limitations; many people still don’t see it as anything more than a novelty, while others are frightened by Extended Reality’s potential to blur the line between fantasy and reality.

Extended Reality is sometimes seen as “creepy”, even though it can be used for many practical purposes.

Future Predictions of How Extended Reality Will Reshape Our Lives

Extended Reality is likely to become mainstream in ten years or so, but there are some who believe Extended Reality could have a huge impact on our lives sooner than that!

Some experts have predicted that Extended Reality will be used to augment education, allowing subjects like history to come alive using extended realities.

Extended realities may also allow people with disabilities to enjoy things they thought they were unable to do; simulations of everyday activities like cooking running errands can give them a chance to do things that might be difficult or impossible in the real world.


Extended Reality technology enables people to enjoy a variety of different experiences, from gaming and learning to corporate meetings and hands-on training sessions.

There are still some limitations associated with Extended Reality at present, but experts believe those will decrease as more time passes.

Extended Reality has great potential for reshaping our lives in the future!

Acodez is a leading web development company in India offering Emerging Technology Services to our clients across the globe. As a web design company, we offer all web development services too to our clients using the latest technologies. We also have a dedicated digital marketing division wherein we provide SEO, SMM, SEM, Inbound marketing services, etc at affordable prices. For further information, please contact us.

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Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan, Co-Founder, and Director at Acodez IT Solutions, who has a rich experience of 16+ years in IT & Digital Marketing. Between his busy schedule, whenever he finds the time he writes up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development. All thanks to his master brain behind the gleaming success of Acodez.

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