TechnologyWhat is mixed reality and how is it related...

What is mixed reality and how is it related to immersive interfaces?

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Do you remember when was the first time you entered a virtual world? For a few years it is relatively simple. You only need a pair of virtual reality glasses to spend an entertaining afternoon with friends or alone. You just have to be clear about the type of device you want to buy, a game console or computer and, finally, a large and clear environment where you can start your immersion. 

Oddly enough, there was a time when we were only content to imagine what we could achieve with immersive interfaces. How could it be otherwise, cinema and video games were the great supporters of this idea for decades, with films like Tron or Matrix, or hardware proposals that were advanced for their time, but which went unnoticed, such as Virtual Boy from Nintendo in 1995. 

All this amalgamation of interactive narratives has essentially been what has shaped immersive virtual reality devices, augmented reality… and also mixed reality. Have you heard of this technology before? Well stay, we are going to tell you all the details. 

Where does mixed reality come from and where is it going? 

If you listen to mixed reality, the first thing that may come to mind is a hodgepodge between everything you understand by virtual reality with everything you know about augmented reality. Well, something like that is, but how is it really? 

It is a bit like the Hannah Montana of immersive technologies, because it “brings together the best of both worlds” to offer an experience that does not remain on a superficial plane of digital projections as augmented reality does and is not as isolated from your environment as virtual reality headsets. 

With mixed reality technology, we do not enter a virtual environment as such, but we have the possibility of interacting with virtual elements in a real environment, altering their position and characteristics as if we were doing it in a virtual world. Although it seems a complex concept, we can start from a simpler idea to see where the shots go. 

Snapchat and Instagram filters, do you know?  

Surely you have ever used one of these effects to alter your age, your voice or just to have a laugh with your friends. It is not the most suitable example to talk about the potential of mixed reality, but it is a good starting point to understand the scope of this technology, and how virtual elements behave on our faces when we open our mouths, blink or make a gesture with our hands. When we talk about immersive technologies, it is important to assimilate that it is a hybrid concept, and that there are no barriers that delimit what is and what is not augmented, mixed or virtual reality. 

It is better to imagine this type of immersive technologies as a continuous scale that oscillates between reality and virtuality, where these proposals move around the axis and present more or less immersive models depending on where they are located.  

Microsoft is perhaps the technology multinational that has invested the most in this type of technology over the years, with proposals as well-known as Hololens, a holographic and haptic device that merges the real environment with digital elements to make them interact with our presence. A very novel proposal that opens up a whole world of possibilities for experimenting with three-dimensional environments. 

If you want to learn more about these immersive technologies and find out what their role is in virtual environments, on September 29 you have an appointment with Telefonica Metaverse Day, an event to experience the metaverse, experience and learn everything that this new era brings. You will be able to follow it in person, in streaming or through.

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