Difference between VR, AR, MR, XR

Let’s start with the basics. We first must know the difference between these technologies, to be able to adapt future projects to the right environment.

Reality as a construct

What we perceive with our senses seems to be reality, whether what we perceive comes from the digital or the physical world. Take for instance watching a movie, we know it is not real, but it feels real to us. It triggers emotions, we feel empathetic to characters and we create connections with them.

It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality. We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.

– Patrick Cavanagh, Research Professor

The virtuality continuum is a scale that goes from reality to virtuality. In it, technologies can be categorised by how immersive they are. The virtuality continuum is a theoretical framework introduced in 1994 by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino. It helps us visualize and understand the differences between the various technologies that exist today.


Extended Reality is the real-world environment with technology overlapping, it includes AR, MR and VR. It is blurring the line between the physical and the digital world. The technologies AR and MR overlap with reality and thus also create different impressions and impact towards the environment. We could see that when Pokémon Go came out.

There are no mental models in how to interact in XR, it’s a new area and a lot has to be designed, tested and standardized.


Augmented reality allows us to overlay digital elements into the real world. Using a screen that display real surroundings with digital elements, but they don’t interact in any way. It has its limitations but is still extremely powerful, not for immersive environments but can be used as a tool for solving problems.


Mixed Reality goes a bit further because the digital overlay can interact with the physical world. MR gets input from the environment and will change according to it. It removes the boundaries between real and virtual interaction via occlusion. Your physical surroundings become your boundaries. The lines here became blurry what really exists and what seems to exist in the real worlds.


Like the name suggests Virtual Reality is an immersive digital environment and the physical world has no part in it. VR takes advantage of the visual and auditory systems, this world seems real to us.

The perception of our environment has a huge effect on us. We should keep that in mind. VR should never be too intense for us to handle, like standing on a plank at the top of a skyscraper and looking down. We need to feel save when entering a new world. Participants should always know that the extensions aren’t real but can still enjoy the journey. Like watching a movie.


Beyond AR vs. VR: What is the Difference between AR vs. MR vs. VR vs. XR? https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/beyond-ar-vs-vr-what-is-the-difference-between-ar-vs-mr-vs-vr-vs-xr

XR: VR, AR, MR—What’s the Difference? https://www.viget.com/articles/xr-vr-ar-mr-whats-the-difference/

Augmented and Virtual Reality Exhibitions

Museums and exhibitions aim to bring their collections to live. Since the ongoing development of augmented and virtual reality technologies it seems obvious to integrate them in the classical exhibitions. Through the usage of AR and VR technologies, museums can add a virtual layer to their exhibitions and create immersive experiences. Some areas of application could, for example be, allowing users to explore Egyptian burial chambers, meet historical characters or find out more about an artist by virtually visiting their hometown.

As part of a study, the Research Centre of Excellence in Cyprus (RISE) has interviewed 15 global museums about their experience in including AR and VR technologies in their exhibitions. Around 50% of them stated, that they made use of these technologies in order to create an augmented spaces for visitors to experience the exhibition, for example in form of a virtual time travel. They integrated VR and AR experiences in their exhibitions as an extension to the classic exhibitions, instead of outclassing them.

Another possibility to create a virtual exhibition can be done by scan exhibitions and arrange them in a virtual space. In this way, exhibitions can be accessible from all around the world. It could also enable a larger audience, for example disabled people, to visit exhibitions they could not visit in the real life.


Mona Lisa: Beyond Glass

Source: https://www.viveport.com/18d91af1-9fa5-4ec2-959b-4f8161064796

The Virtual Reality experience “Mona Lisa: Beyond Glass” was part of the Leonardo da Vinci blockbuster exhibition taken place at the Louvre in Paris, in October 2019. Through the use of animated images, interactive design and sound, it allowed the users to explore it’s details, the wood panel texture and how it has changed over the time.

Source: https://www.gmw3.com/2018/02/national-museum-of-finland-offers-virtual-time-travel/

The National Museum of Finland enabled their visiters a virtual time travel back to the year 1863, by letting the users walking inside the painting “The Opening of he Diet 1863 by Alexander II” by R. W. Ekman. In this VR experience the visitors could speak with the emperor and representatives of the different social classes or visit historical places.


#2 Virtual Fitting Room – let’s see behind the curtain

In my second blog entry, I dive deeper into topic of the technology behind virtual fitting rooms – Augmented Reality. My research should lay the groundwork for understanding how AR works and how it can be used in a fashion context.

And what exactly is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is available on any camera-equipped device – mostly on smartphone and tablet – and on which the corresponding AR software is installed. AR adds digital content onto a device’s live camera feed, making the digital content seem to be part of the real world. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which replaces reality with a completely digital environment, AR enhances the real world by digital information overlay or virtual details, which means the real environment remains central to the user experience.

Widely known and used examples of AR are for instance Pokémon Go and Ikea App. The picture below shows a range of different applications and fields, taking advantage of AR.

But how does AR work?

When a user points the device’s camera at an object, the software recognizes it through computer vision technology, which analyzes the content of the camera feed. The device then downloads information about the recognized object from the cloud and presents the AR information as an object overlay in a 3D experience. The content displayed is part real and part virtual. Computer vision determines an object in terms of semantics (what) and 3D geometry (where). First recognizing an object, then understanding it’s 3D position and orientation. With geometry, it is possible for the rendering module to display the AR content at the right place and angle, which is essential for a realistic AR experience. AR is real-time 3D or in other words it is live, which means the process explained above has to occur every time a new frame comes from the camera (most smartphones today work at 30 fps). As a result, when moving a device, the size and orientation of the augmentation adjusts to the changed context automatically. 

Finally: AR & fashion?

Yes – one field of application for AR are virtual try-ons. However, the experience should go beyond the aspect of trying on clothes, and it has to be said that AR cannot yet completely replace a real try-on due to the lack of display quality. The key aspect in such experiences is the part real and part virtual aspect of AR (person = real and garment = virtual). 

According to Vogue Business, the “AR clothing try-on is nearly here” and it “is getting closer to reality, and the pace of acceleration is increasing”. Companies and start-ups are working on improving try-on capabilities with updates including 3D body mesh to define 3D shapes, cloth simulation and its behavior more precisely. Since there are many interesting possibilities for in-shop-experience and online-experience, investors and tech companies see a great potential in AR clothing. The value of the technology is extended beyond its entertainment aspect.

In my next blog entry, I will focus more on the benefits of AR clothing and how it could potentially solve current problems concerning the fashion industry with a focus on e-commerce.







AR in Education #2: Comparing XR, AR, VR & MR

Hello again! My second blog entry will be about the the differences between four concepts: Extended Reality (XR), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

XR, AR, VR, MR,… What??

Extended Reality (XR): XR is a “catch-all”-term for technologies that enhance or replace our view of the real world. This can be done through overlaying or immersing computer text and graphics into real-world and virtual environments, or even a combination of both. XR encompasses AR, VR and MR.

Augmented Reality (AR): AR enhances our view of the real world by overlaying the real-world environment with digital content across multiple sensory modalities. It detects objects in the real-world environment and overlaps those with computer-generated data such as graphics, sounds, images, and texts. In other words: AR comines the real world with the digital world. Users can experience AR very easily through an smartphone application, but also through special AR wearables (i.e. headsets, glasses), displays, projectors or even contact lenses.

Virtual Reality (VR): While AR enhances the user’s real environment, VR completely replaces it with a virtual one. By using full-coverage headsets the user’s real-world surroundings are completely shut out while using. Advanced VR experiences  even allow users to move in a digital environment and hear sounds. Moreover, special hand controllers can be used to enhance VR experiences.

Mixed Reality (MR): MR is the newest of these immersive technologies and combines aspects of AR and VR. When experiencing MR, virtual content is not only overlaid on the real environment (as in AR) but is anchored to and interacts with that environment. Instead of relying only on remote control devices, smart glasses, or smartphones, users can also use their gestures, glancing or blinking, and much more to interact with the real and the digital world at the same time. 

Long Story short:

  • Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term for technologies that enhance or replace our view of the real world
  • Augmented Reality (AR) overlays virtual objects on the real-world environment
  • Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment
  • Mixed Reality (MR) not just overlays but anchors virtual objects to the real world

For a better understanding, I found this nice infographic:

Comparison of VR, AR and MR

Okay, got it. But why AR?

As far as I know at this point, all three techniques – AR, MR & VR – can be useful for educational purposes. The choice of the technology might depend on several factors like the field of education, the equipment or the target group. Still, I chose to focus on AR for several reasons: 1) I like the idea of learning new things by enhancing the user’s environmental view instead of replacing it like it is with VR (my subjective opinion); 2) AR is easily accessible via smartphones or tablets, while VR and MR need more advanced technology (i.e. headsets). There might come up more advantages (and maybe some limitations and disadvantages too) the further I dive into the topic, let’s see. But that’s it for now! 🙂



Headerimage: https://www.vsight.io/the-difference-between-ar-vr-and-mr/

Infographic: https://rubygarage.org/blog/difference-between-ar-vr-mr

Arm Blueprint. (2021, 11. August). xR, AR, VR, MR: What’s the Difference in Reality? Verfügbar unter: https://www.arm.com/blogs/blueprint/xr-ar-vr-mr-difference 

RubyGarage. (2021, 27. August). VR vs AR vs MR: Differences and Real-Life Applications. https://rubygarage.org/blog/difference-between-ar-vr-mr 

Vsight. (2021, 9. Oktober). The difference between AR, VR, and MR. Verfügbar unter: https://www.vsight.io/the-difference-between-ar-vr-and-mr/

V-Tubing. Ein großer virtueller Maskenball

Kizuna A.I.s erstes Youtube Video (Untertitel aktivieren)
source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NasyGUeNMTs

Mit der Corona-Krise im Jahr 2019 musste die gesamte Welt in den Online-Modus wechseln, das führte unter anderem dazu, dass sich eine neue Sparte an Unterhaltungskünstlern etablieren konnte. Der Begriff V-Tuber steht für “Virtueller Youtuber” und wurde 2016 durch eine Künstliche Intelligenz namens Kizuna Ai ins Leben gerufen. Wie ein solcher Charakter entsteht und was ihn so besonders macht.

Ein erster Erklärungsversuch

V-Tubing und klassisches Streamen sind im Grunde sehr ähnlich: In beiden Fällen sitzt eine Person hinter einer Kamera und unterhält ihr Publikum vor den Bildschirmen. Der einzige Unterschied besteht darin, dass V-Tuber anonym bleiben, indem ein 2D- oder 3D Avatar gezeigt wird. Eine Künstliche Intelligenz setzt die gefilmte Gestik und Mimik des Streamers in die digitalen Bewegungen der Figur um. V-Tuber sind also vergleichbar mit digitalen Marionettenspielern.

Die Puppen sind virtuelle Charaktere mit menschlichen Eigenschaften.
Der aus Japan stammende Trend hat seine Wurzeln in der „Otaku-Kultur“, einer Subkultur, die sich mit Anime und Manga beschäftigt. Dementsprechend lässt sich  in den Avataren ein wiederkehrenden roter Faden erkennen: Fast jeder der Charaktere ist ein niedliches Mädchen mit großen Augen, hat eine hohe Stimme und trägt entzückenden Outfits. Natürlich variieren die Figuren von Hai-Mädchen über Dämonen-Mädchen bis hin zu einer weiblichen Riesenmotte.

Hauptsache “kawaii”. Den Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten sind keine Grenzen gesetzt.
source: https://obs.line-scdn.net/0hiTg0V3cNNntaSSESasBJLGIfOgppLyxyeC95T39POk51ZXB4NS5lGCxJbFd-KyR5eisqH3lKax4gLXIkZA/w644

Dieses Phänomen nennt man „Moe Anthropomorphismus“. „Moe“ steht in diesem Zusammenhang für das Ausstrahlen von Niedlichkeit, es handelt sich also um eine vermenschlichte Form von Niedlichkeit.
Im Gegensatz zu Anime Charakteren gehen Vtuber allerdings einen Schritt weiter und interagieren mit ihren Fans.

Einer der vielen Vorteile des Streamens als V-Tuber sind die unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten bei der Erstellung eines virtuellen Avatars Obwohl viele der virtuellen Content-Creator sich auf einen Avatar in klassischer „Anime-Optik“ nach dem Vorbild aus Japan richten, sind im Grunde auch Tiere oder menschliche Tierwesen keine Seltenheit. Im Grunde kann jedes beliebige Bild zu einem Charakter werden, je nachdem wozu der Charakter schlussendlich verwendet wird.

Das Aussehen kann jederzeit und beliebig oft geändert werden. Häufig werden spezielle „Formen“, oder Kostüme und Accessoires zu bestimmten Feiertagen verwendet. So zum Beispiel zu Halloween, Weihnachten oder wenn ein Streamer das Jubiläums seines Channels feiern möchte.

Vtuber “Ironmouse” 3D Dämonenform
source: https://preview.redd.it/pasa2iuic6q61.jpg?auto=webp&s=2e8cc75ec7942b42c35aad9697ced815bb0f9ddf

Ein weiterer Punkt, der das virtuelle Streamen immer beliebter macht, ist die Möglichkeit der absoluten Anonymität. Die Hintergrundgeschichte des Charakters kann sowohl frei erfunden sein als auch teilweise wahr oder gleich komplett der Lebensgeschichte des Content Creators entsprechen, ohne dabei seine Privatsphäre zu gefährden. Besonders im Netz kommt es oft zu Hass-Posts und Cyber-Mobbing, somit bietet der Avatar eines V-Tubers nicht nur Anonymität, sondern auch Schutz vor Hass im Internet.


  • Bedeutung, Entstehung und aktueller Bezug
  • V-Tuber Agenturen und ihre Protagonisten
  • Software und Programme – Was gibt es und wie verwende ich sie?
  • Entwicklung eines Characters – 2D und 3D Modell


Bitter, Jan-Hendrik/Bartz, Robin (06.092021): V-Tubing mit Hilfe von 3D-Avataren, https://technikjournal.de/2021/09/06/v-tubing-mit-hilfe-von-3d-avataren/, in: https://technikjournal.de/category/digital/cybersicherheit/ [15.11.2021]

Cakir, Gökhan (28.01.2021): How to become a Vtuber, https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/how-to-become-a-vtuber, in: https://dotesports.com/streaming [15.11.2021]

Chen, James (30.11.2020): The Vtuber takeover of 2020. 3D anime girls are everywhere now – and they’re making big bucks, https://www.polygon.com/2020/11/30/21726800/hololive-vtuber-projekt-melody-kizuna-ai-calliope-mori-vshojo-youtube-earnings, in: https://www.polygon.com/report [15.11.2021]

Dazon, Laura (16.03.2020): Virtual Youtuber – What’s the appeal?, https://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/quench/culture/virtual-youtubers-whats-the-appeal/, in: https://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/quench/category/culture/ [15.11.2021]

Lufkin, Brian (03.10.2021): The virtual vloggers taking over YouTube, https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20181002-the-virtual-vloggers-taking-over-youtube, in: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/tags/japan [15.11.2021]

Martinello, Eva (29.01.2021): The best Vtuber software, https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/the-best-vtuber-software, in: https://dotesports.com/streaming [15.11.2021]

SWYRL (24.05.2021): Virtuelle Stars: Das steckt hinter dem neuen Vtuber-Trend, https://www.swyrl.tv/article/was-kommt-nach-streamern-und-youtubern-vtuber-sind-der-hype-von-morgen [15.11.2021]