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What is mixed reality?

Mixed Reality (MR) is used as an independent concept and it combines the best of both – virtual reality and augmented reality.

This represents 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.

It is important to say that the first immersive mixed reality system, providing enveloping sight, sound, and touch was the Virtual Fixtures platform developed at the U.S. Air Force’s Armstrong Laboratories in the early 1990s. But the term – mixed reality was originally introduced in a 1994 on paper by Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino as “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays.”

Most augmented reality and virtual reality offerings available today represent a very small part of its spectrum. They are, however, subsets of the larger mixed reality spectrum. Windows 10 is built with the entire spectrum in mind, and allows blending digital representations of people, places and things with the real world.

There are two main types of devices that deliver Windows Mixed Reality experiences:

  1. Holographic devices -These are characterized by the device’s ability to place digital content in the real world as if it were really there.
  2. Immersive devices – These are characterized by the device’s ability to create a sense of “presence” – hiding the physical world and replacing it with a digital experience.

There are no devices today that can run experiences across the entire spectrum; however, Windows 10 provides a common mixed reality platform for both device manufacturers and developers. Devices today can support a specific range within the mixed reality spectrum, and over time new devices should expand that range. In the future, holographic devices will become more immersive, and immersive devices will become more holographic.

Mixed reality is the next evolution in human, computer, and environment interaction and unlocks possibilities that before now were restricted to our imaginations.