The Ultimate Guide to Mixed Reality (MR) Technology

Mixed Reality (MR)Introduction to Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed Reality (MR) is used as an independent concept or to classify the spectrum of reality technologies, as referenced in the reality–virtuality continuum.

As an independent concept, mixed reality combines the best of both virtual reality and augmented reality. When used to classify the larger scope of reality technologies, it refers to the coverage of all possible variations and compositions of real and virtual objects.

Mixed Reality Definition

What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

Mixed Reality noun


The predominantly virtual spaces where real world objects or people are dynamically integrated into virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.


The continuous scale ranging which covers all possible variations and compositions of real and virtual objects. The continuum ranges from a completely real and natural environment, to a completely virtual environment. The concept was first introduced by Paul Milgram.

Types of Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality (MR) Categories

Mixed Reality (Continuum)

Mixed Reality Continuum

This spectrum (i.e. Mixed Reality Continuum) covers all possible variations and compositions of real and virtual objects. On the spectrum, beginning from far-left, is the natural world where nothing is computer generated. The most-right point on the spectrum, is the virtual environment where everything is computer generated. Below, we explore the various types of reality technologies that make up this spectrum:

Mixed Reality (Independent)

Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed reality, either as a standalone concept or used to refer to the entire spectrum of situations between actual reality (i.e. real world) and virtual reality, attempts to combine the best of both virtual reality and augmented reality. When both real and virtual worlds are merged together, new environments and visualizations become possible where physical and digital objects can coexist and interact in real time.

Real Environment

Mixed Reality - Real Environment

Real environment (also called “natural environment”) refers to the natural world we consume everyday. This natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth. Consequently, most virtual environments are modeled after real environments. Re-creating virtual representations of real environment objects (e.g. people, natural landscapes) allow for deepened levels of immersion into virtual worlds.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality brings aspect of the virtual world into the real world. It is closer to the real environment, as opposed to virtual environments, in the spectrum of reality technologies. This is because augmented reality users remain in the real world (i.e. natural environment) while experiencing enhanced virtually created visuals, aurals, and feelings. Augmented reality does this by layering virtual information and/or graphics on top of a user’s view of a real world scene.

Augmented Virtuality

Mixed Reality - Augmented Virtuality

Augmented virtuality describes the environment in which real objects are inserted into computer-generated virtual environments. It is best described as the inverse of augmented reality, where real world objects are layered over virtual environments. An example of augmented virtuality is the kitchen remodeling scenario. By utilizing augmented virtuality technology, a homeowner could visualize and interact with virtual appliances and easily manipulate different layouts, in a digital representation of their current kitchen.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality seeks to provide users with the greatest level of immersion: total-immersion. This deepened level of immersion is distinct from other types of reality technologies. The total immersion experienced in virtual reality requires stimulation of all of the user’s senses in a fully immersive virtual experience, to the extent that the brain accepts the virtual environment as a real environment. In a virtual reality environment, users inhabit a completely synthetic world may or may not mimic the properties of a real-world environment.