Extended reality is really impacting the world with its applications. Learning extended reality gives you an edge in the world today. In this guide, we shall be talking about extended reality and its applications. Would you like to know? Then you should read through this guide.
What is Extended Reality (XR)?
Extended reality is an emerging umbrella term for all immersive technologies. The ones we already have today—augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) plus are still to be created. All immersive technologies extend the reality we experience by either blending the virtual and “real” worlds or by creating a fully immersive experience. Recent research revealed that more than 60% of respondents believed XR will be mainstream in the next five years. To get a better picture of XR, let’s review each of the existing technologies that exist today.
To understand the technical aspect of Extended Reality (XR), we need to understand the technologies which are used to create Extended Reality (XR):
- Augmented Reality (AR): The concept of augmented reality is that virtual objects and imaginations are put up in the real world. Augmented reality does not put us into any virtual or computer-generated graphics, rather it just creates a sense of illusion in digital gadgets. The users still have access to the real world & they can fully interact in both dimensions. The most common example is Pokémon-GO 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. Other examples of Augmented reality are the filters that we see in many apps, these just create an illusion of being there, but they are not.
- Virtual Reality (VR): In virtual reality, the users are put into a fully virtual environment, where they can interact only in the virtual world. The graphics generated are mostly computer and artificial objects designed to give a feel of being real. The users can feel every bit of virtual reality. Special VR devices are needed to put users into this environment which gives them a 360-degree view of the virtual world. These devices are designed to give a real illusion to users.
- Mixed Reality (MR): Mixed reality is a combination of both AR & VR, where one can interact with the digital as well as the real world simultaneously. Users can visualize their surroundings in special MR devices. These MR devices are much more powerful than VR, and costly too! But these devices give you the power to interact with your surroundings digitally.
For example, putting on an MR device will give you a view of your entire surroundings. You can do whatever you want, throw a ball, close the windows, etc which will be digitally in your MR headset, but in actual reality, things will remain as they are. Many companies are investing a huge amount of money for deeper research in this field of reality.
Advantages of XR Reality
Is extended reality good for business, or does it just improve user experience? Companies that apply environments powered by the technology do get valuable benefits, such as:
- The provision of an unusual experience. A dive into a radically different reality allows companies to provide their users with the possibility of visiting places of interest or experimenting with something without leaving the house.
- Efficient information uptake. XR provides its users with a more realistic view of their subject matter, which allows them to be trained in a more effective manner.
- Safe training. Those who need to practice in high-risk conditions, such as military or chemists, can train safely from conventional classrooms.
- Seamless data access. XR removes distance barriers, which is why humans can smoothly access remote data.
Disadvantages of XR Reality
In spite of the above-mentioned tempting opportunities of XR, it has the following drawbacks:
- Compromised privacy. As with any other technology, XR is prone to cyber-attacks, in particular, to data hacks. It can result in serious damage since XR-related solutions have access to tons of private information.
- Reduced social engagement. Extended reality provides numerous ways of amusement, which may completely engross human minds and may threaten to eliminate the necessity for communication. Although XR allows people to communicate, it enables it in a different way that lacks contact and personal interaction.
- Physical harm. Long-term application of VR devices and augmented reality glasses may cause eye disorders, nausea, faintness, and headache.
- The high cost of implementation. The development and implementation of XR solutions and devices that support this technology are extremely expensive, which is why it may come at a high cost.
Applications of Extended Reality
So, how is extended reality being used today?
It is possible that you may have guessed, one of the most popular uses for extended reality is in gaming. There are already a number of great games out there that you can play using virtual reality tech, like Beat Saber, Half-Life: Alyx, and Moss. This kind of gaming is incredibly immersive and is now a favorite for many.
There are also augmented reality games on the market today, one of the most notable being Pokemon GO, which still has an active player base of more than 70 million users. A lot of well-known AR games are played on a smartphone, as it’s the easiest way to use a camera in a mobile setting.
Vehicle Design and Development
Designing a new product can be a very long and technical process, but extended reality can be of service here. Developers can use virtual reality to get a 3D view of a product design before it’s been created, allowing them to get a better idea of what it’ll look like and how it’ll function.
Many car manufacturers now use some extended reality in their product design and development. BMW uses augmented reality in the design process to “present vehicle functions and new interior concepts,” giving developers an easier way to see how a car will look, how it’ll drive, and its overall performance before it is given the green light for manufacture.
Experts see multiple areas where VR technology can contribute to healthcare, including mental well-being, physiotherapy, pharmaceutical development, and education for professionals and patients. The technology also assists in collaboration, especially among multiple facilities. During the pandemic, doctors used XR extensively to offer remote care.
Medical imaging technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scans now make extensive use of extended reality. It gives staff full 3D representations of human bodies rather than traditional 2D imaging. This improves diagnostic accuracy, as medical personnel now have a more accurate rendering of the relevant structures.
Surgical training marks one of the stand-out applications of XR. Immersive models allow doctors to practice skills without risking lives – to learn general surgical techniques or even to develop procedures for complex operations. During live operations or patient care, medical staff can use AR to make better decisions and offer more insightful recommendations to their patients. With medical VR treatment, people can experience a controlled environment where they face and overcome their fears safely.
Engineering And Manufacturing
A skilled workforce has become necessary to keep pace in the super-charged business world, with training a necessary yet expensive endeavor. XR tools can save money, and time, and prevent injuries.
Computer-aided design (CAD) makes an ideal use case as designers and their clients can immerse themselves in life-size plans while drafting. This allows for superior exploration of design space.
Engineering and manufacturing can sometimes involve dangerous functions. The use of augmented reality enables workers to conduct these actions from a safe distance. For instance, an employee can direct a robot to perform some tasks involving hazardous chemicals that pose a risk.
New factory employees can learn how to use risky equipment via simulations and from anywhere. A job simulator can even include accurate deadlines, distractions, and other pressing demands.
The National Education Association has found that while learning retention is only 5% for lectures and 10% for reading, VR is among the top 2 with a learning retention of 75%. With immersive technology, learning can be made much more engaging than simply reading a piece of text or watching a video.
Augmented reality gives students hands-on, real-world experience without the need for a classroom. It enables people to see what it’s like in outer space or to practice surgery on virtual patients. XR delivers unique learning experiences and is expected to have a growing influence on education at all levels from elementary to tertiary, to professional learning.
XR enables virtual field trips, including to locations that you can’t reach in person. You can also explore complex scientific topics in extreme detail, like manipulating a 3D model of a molecule. When it comes to post-secondary, XR enables remote self-paced learning. Students can have multisensory engagement with any topic from astronomy to zoology. Richer interconnections make the material more memorable. Gamification, in which lessons are made entertaining, can further enhance learning outcomes.
Real estate agents can give prospective buyers a tour of properties as if viewing them in person, even if they are on opposite sides of the planet. You can produce advertisements, sales presentations, and detailed open houses for use with smartphones or headsets. Real estate agents already exploit XR’s core functions with current tools already built into some web browsers.
“This is cutting-edge technology. It’s going to transform the way we train soldiers and the way soldiers operate in combat. We’re excited about it,” is how Gen. James McConville, the US Army’s chief of staff, describes XR.
Since the inception of XR technologies, the US Military has invested billions of dollars in the technology. The Army and the Marine Corps have invested in a new battlefield head-up display called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), which combines synthetic training environments with real-world data to boost infantry readiness and effectiveness. The Navy and Air Force have been using similar XR technologies to train their fighter pilots.
The US Defense Department readily extols the boundless promise that XR advances hold for dramatically improved training, situational awareness, logistics support, combat readiness, and even medical training and procedures. XR can deliver training far faster and at less cost than traditional training in many cases. By employing virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and biometric tracking, the US Air Force has reduced pilot training from 12 months to four.
By superimposing virtual data over a view of the real world, military personnel can use XR technologies to navigate more easily across any terrain in the world; know the location of friendly troops or reported threats; train and rehearse for anticipated battle scenarios, and even overlay virtual enemies and obstacles as needed for better preparation.
In conclusion, Extended reality is an interesting concept and if you effectively leverage the immense power of extended reality, you shall achieve a lot.