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What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

October 5, 2021

The Full Spectrum

Extended reality (XR) allows us to interact in virtual environments, while remaining in the real world. Augmented reality (AR) layers digital imagery onto physical environments, while virtual reality (VR) immerses users into a completely digital world through electronic equipment.

What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

But what if you could have the best of both worlds?

Mixed reality (MR) is just that — a blend of real and virtual worlds that combines 3D objects with computer and environmental interactions. It includes applications like holograms and the popular Microsoft Hololens. 

While MR could make entertainment and gaming more exciting, it’s also being applied to important real world applications like surgery and even “synthetic training” in the US Army. Let’s take a look at how MR is changing the face of technology.

What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

MR in Practice

The first known use of the term “mixed reality” was in 1994, when researchers Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino described the concept in their paper “A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays.” The paper outlined a “virtuality continuum” connecting real and virtual worlds.

While MR refers to the intertwining of the virtual and physical world, it requires a variety of digital mediums to accomplish the mixed reality environment. This includes:

  • Head-mounted displays like the Microsoft HoloLens headset
  • Head-up displays, which project images into a user’s field of view without obscuring the environment in front of them
  • Automatic virtual environment called CAVE in which a user is surrounded by projected displays
  • Mobile devices and apps to create mixed reality by overlaying computer graphics across the user’s physical view

Today, MR is still being developed and refined. But it’s easy to see the far-reaching applications it could someday have based on recent first-time uses in:

Retail and fashion

The first augmented reality dress was designed by Marga Weimans using 3D-tracking and occlusion effects to allow the augmented additions to spin around the user. 

Medical education

Students at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio used mixed reality to learn anatomy, despite professors being hundreds of miles away.


Engineers can use mixed reality to perform practical tasks in hours instead of days or weeks, saving millions of dollars.

As MR takes off in tech-savvy industries, it could potentially become commonplace in schools, universities, hospitals, and much more. Already, reports predict investments in AR/MR are set to reach $5.1 billion in the next two years.

What is Mixed Reality (MR)?

Where Do You Fit Into This Booming Industry?

MR, VR, and AR developers and designers are already in high demand to keep the field propelling forward. The best place to get started is with top-tier education. All you need is a passion for technology and an eye for innovation.

And with MR certification under your belt, you’ll not only have the means to enhance your career, but shape the future of the industry.

Ready for a career in MR?

XR Terra provides the most robust AR and VR training with small class sizes, hands-on experience, and even career services to help you take action on the knowledge you acquire.

Get started today by enrolling in one of our available AR/VR programs to immerse yourself in the growing world of XR.

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