What is Extended Reality (XR) and How Do We Use It Everyday?
March 30, 2021
Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality all hold different meanings. Virtual reality includes all graphic components that exist in a separate realm and is often accessed via goggles or other headsets. Augmented reality includes graphic overlays on top of a real-world environment. And mixed reality is a mix of the virtual and augmented realms; users interact with both real and virtual environments.
Some consumers might also have seen a term called extended reality (XR). What is extended reality and how do we use it every day? Extended reality is simply the term used to encompass all these technologies—virtual, augmented, and mixed. Extended reality is not a separate technology.
Elements of extended reality exist in many facets of our lives. Here’s how we can use extended reality as we go about our day. The incorporation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality might surprise you!
Augmented Reality to Display Art
Not everyone can own a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. For many, rare works of art are out of the budget. Augmented reality might be changing the art world by allowing masterpieces and unique art creations to become accessible to a wider audience.
Smithsonian Magazine explored how art was going augmented…and could be enjoyed from home using this technology. Smithsonian reported that artist Jenny Holzer’s work can be displayed in the home via an app. The same article detailed how Serpentine Galleries had to find a safe way to showcase a virtual reality art experience called The Eternal Wave by artist Cao Fei; allowing patrons to don goggles wasn’t an option. An augmented reality experience via phones became the solution. The augmented reality experience could be accessed via an app called Acute Art. The full experience could be accessed in the gallery, but a smaller “sample” could be enjoyed from anywhere.
Could augmented reality be the future of how we enjoy art? Both Holzer’s and Fei’s work were either conceptual and/or multimedia and could translate to a tech platform; Holzer’s work includes LED signs. Fei’s exhibit was supposed to be experienced via virtual reality so the augmented reality pivot made sense.
Yet, the potential for augmented reality could lead to other uses in the art world. During Covid, museums offered virtual tours of galleries. Some even provided at-home art classes. Perhaps famous works of art could be enjoyed via augmented reality at home. Art could be enjoyed and experienced in a living room. The home could transform into a gallery.
Cooking with Augmented Reality
Augmented reality might be ready to invade the kitchen! Yes, you may soon be able to cook up some culinary masterpieces thanks to augmented reality. Zack Johnson and a few fellow peers at Dartmouth used Magic Leap to create an augmented reality cooking experience app called Cook Along.
The app required that users wear the Magic Leap during the experience. The augmented reality experience takes them through every step of the recipe. They see the directions as well as the ingredients. Johnson explained in an article via Forbes that users could even watch someone demonstrate a particular step. If you don’t know how to whisk, maybe this was shown. This helps simplify cooking, especially for those who aren’t masterful in the kitchen. While Johnson noted that the app wasn’t going to be available via Magic Leap, the article included a link to the app.
Could apps like Cook Along be the future of cooking? Following a recipe can be frustrating, especially for those who are unsure how to interpret certain directions. A scene in Schitt’s Creek, for example, featured David asking Moira how to fold in the cheese while making enchiladas. Her response? You fold it in! Perhaps cooking apps that utilize augmented reality could show exactly how to fold in the cheese!
Augmented Reality Helps Consumers Preview Restaurants, Too
While cooking apps could be a future phenomenon, there is an app that lets consumers see the food at restaurants or when ordering online. Not sure if that Chicken Carbonara is really going to be as amazing as the photos? Apps can help visualize the menu via augmented reality food.
Could restaurants follow the trend and begin to offer augmented reality experiences of their food? Maybe previewing the menu happens via virtual or augmented reality in the future.
Those interested in exploring augmented reality for ordering takeout can do a quick search for these apps via the App Store or Google Play.
Espresso Machines in Augmented Reality
Many enjoy a cup of coffee to perk up in the morning. Maybe the pandemic meant more of that coffee was brewed at home. Some may be considering upgrading to a fancy new espresso machine. But how will that machine look in the kitchen? Does it complement the other appliances?
The hunt for the perfect espresso or coffee machine doesn’t need to be a mystery thanks to augmented reality. Whole Latte Love offers an augmented reality experience that lets consumers drop those investment machines that brew java magic right into their kitchen. See what model looks best…and fits the space.
Augmented Reality Wine Labels
Pop open a bottle of Phantom Wine and have some fun with augmented reality, too. Wine has gone augmented! According to the Augmented Wine Labels app by the winery, Phantom Wines has been haunted by a presence…the phantom. Using the augmented reality app, the wine label becomes the ticket to a unique experience. Find the phantom and learn about the winery and its history.
However, according to Wine Industry Advisor, the augmented reality wine label is becoming quite popular in the industry. The publication notes that hundreds (more than 500!) of wineries have embraced augmented reality and AI; the technology was built by Winerytale.
That bottle of merlot now may have more body to it than the depth of the wine. The label may hold the key to a unique augmented reality experience!
Augmented Reality in the Car
The drive time includes augmented reality, too! Now more than ever, the vehicles consumers drive include high-technology features like augmented reality. Backup cameras not only show the real-world background behind the vehicle, but they also project grid lines detailing the turning radius. This is augmented reality!
GPS systems used in vehicles often include augmented reality, too. They may show the real environment while also projecting directions or arrows showing when or where to turn. Some vehicles have these types of augmented reality details built into the car, too. Smart rearview mirrors also include projections of the rear scenes of the car along with other details or data.
Cars of the future likely may include even more unique technological features. We could see smart windshields or even self-driving cars. Projections of helpful avatars could enter the vehicle, too. Car manufacturers are working on all types of new technology to improve the driving experience.
Augmented and Virtual Reality for Shopping
Many consumers shop online. Stores and businesses are adopting virtual or augmented reality experiences to improve the user experience in commerce. For example, there may be augmented reality features that allow shoppers to preview cosmetic colors or paint hues on walls.
With augmented reality, shoppers no longer have to guess about the appearance of a purchase. They can preview those hues or maybe even virtually try on garments. Some apps even let users preview new hairstyles or hair colors. Will that bob haircut flatter the face? Stop guessing and use augmented reality!
Even shopping for a new car became an augmented or virtual experience. RelayCars allows users to download either the augmented reality app or the virtual reality app to preview new cars and research their features before heading to a dealership. The augmented reality app lets users drop specific car models anywhere—inside a room or even in the garage or the driveway. The virtual reality app transports users to a virtual showroom. Both apps let users peek inside the vehicle and switch out paint hues.
While many parts of the country may be opening back up to more foot traffic, some shoppers may prefer to research their options online. Buying a new car can now include virtual experiences to simplify the shopping process. Use augmented reality or virtual reality to find favorite makes and models, then visit the dealership to view them in person!
Augmented Reality and the Smart Home
Augmented reality could control the home in the future. According to an article via As Mag, Hayo is creating a device that will easily control appliances and other tech in the home. The Hayo device (which looks a bit like a small speaker) maps out the room. Using an app for Hayo, homeowners can create buttons to control functions in the home…and the buttons can be anywhere!
Touching the couch cushion could turn on the coffee maker…or whatever the Hayo controls. The app apparently lets users control where they place ‘virtual buttons.’
While smart home technology has usually been controlled via a handheld device like a smartphone or a tablet, Hayo might simplify typical functions in the home and users won’t have to be tethered to their devices.
There are so many ways that augmented and virtual reality mix into everyday life. And all these technological features in our homes, cars and within user experiences online make up extended reality. The advancement of tech know-how may mean that virtual and augmented reality will continue to creep into our daily routine. One day, we all may be wearing glasses to see the virtual and augmented world around us!