Capsule Sight
June 6, 2022

What is the difference between augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR)?

Posted on June 6, 2022 6 minutes 1066 words
Table of contents

Every day, as technology advances, we witness the destruction of the barrier between our real and virtual worlds. When we look at the technologies that bring these two worlds together, we come across augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. Although these two technologies are known, the differences between the two can be confused. In this article, we will explain the differences between augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), and what examples are there.

Ruby Garage
Ruby Garage

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that combines digital content with the physical world, making it appear as if it really exists in our physical world. The best-known example of using AR technology is the Pokémon Go game. In this game we play with our phones, we basically go to certain places and catch the Pokemon there. Thanks to AR technology, the Pokemon we catch look as if they really exist in today’s world.

For another example, imagine that you want to buy an armchair or chair for your home. You have determined the item you want to get from IKEA, but you are not sure how it will look in your room. Here we come across the IKEA Place application, which uses AR technology. You can use your phone or tablet to see any product you want to buy from IKEA on the screen. In other words, this is like having a product in your room, and you can purchase it after you are sure. In short, AR technology is a technology that allows us to see a digital object in the real world.

We learned what AR technology is basically with simple examples and explanations. So what kind of devices do we need to experience AR?

The devices that highlight AR technology and are most easily accessible are smartphones and tablets. The AR experience is possible thanks to the software and hardware technologies found in smartphones and tablets. Consider the Pokémon Go game we mentioned in our article. We play this game by seeing Pokémon on the screen of our phones, and this shows us how accessible AR technology is with these devices. Another type of device where AR technology can be experienced is smart glasses. In smart glasses, by adding digital objects to the real world, the physical world and the digital world come together. This makes the AR experience possible.

Real-life examples of AR technology are not limited to the entertainment industry such as Pokémon GO and the retail sector such as Ikea Place. There are many other uses. A good example is presenting interesting advertisements to the targeted audience and making education more interactive. The usage areas of AR technology are increasing day by day.

Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed reality technology is a concept that is often confused with augmented reality technology. This is because both technologies have very similar aspects to them. Mixed reality combines a digital object with our physical world and it appears as if this digital object exists in our physical world and can be interacted with. Here, the biggest difference that separates augmented and mixed reality technologies is the “ability to interact”. In mixed reality, the user can interact and manipulate the digital object that appears in today’s world, while in augmented reality this interaction does not happen and only the digital object appears in today’s world.

If this interaction explanation seems a bit confusing, we can explain it more easily with a real-life example. Imagine that the keyboard we use in our daily life is virtually anywhere you want and you can type on it as if the keyboard really existed. This example is one of the simplest use cases of mixed reality technology. Through mixed reality technology, objects such as keyboards and screens can be used virtually while bringing them into the real world.

One of the most prominent examples of the real-life use of MR technology is the automobile manufacturer FORD. FORD uses mixed reality technology to prototype vehicles. Thanks to FORD MR technology, it can produce prototypes of vehicles quickly and in a way that minimizes costs. This enables the company to avoid the loss of resources and time in prototyping in classical methods.

We learned what MR technology is basically with examples and explanations. So, what kind of devices do we need to experience MR?

You can experience mixed reality technology on two different devices, Holographic devices, and Immersive devices. Holographic devices have translucent glasses. Thanks to these glasses, the outside world continues to be seen. The most prominent example of these devices is Microsoft HoloLens. These devices show virtual objects by combining them with the real world, thus making the MR experience possible. Immersive devices do not have translucent glasses. Therefore, the view of the physical world is not directly present in these devices. The most appropriate example to be given to these devices is Samsung HMD Odyssey+. Since there is no translucent screen, the monitoring of the outside world is provided by cameras and sensors. You can experience mixed reality with these two different device types.

Although mixed reality is a new technology compared to augmented reality, its real-life applications are quite wide. For example, when medical students want to examine human anatomy or the heart, they can view the human anatomy or heart in the form of holograms with MR devices and continue their learning processes interactively. The human heart can be explored with the application called “Insight Heart”. It has a real-time display of heartbeat, zoom in and out of heart hologram, and much more.

It is not limited to education, but it has areas of use ranging from effective use in the production sector to design and architecture and many other areas. It is increasing day by day.


We learned the differences and examples of AR and MR technologies in detail. If we want to briefly summarize the difference between these two technologies, augmented reality is a technology that brings together digital content with the physical world, showing it as if it really exists in our physical world. Mixed reality is the technology that allows us to add digital content to today’s world and interact with and manipulate this content.

In addition to this topic, you can also read our articles about what is smart glasses, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Related Posts

Follow us

We share impressive content about smart glasses, augmented reality, virtual reality, and the metaverse.