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XR Terminology

Extended Reality

  1. An environment or experience that combines virtual and physical realities through the use of computer technology or wearable technologies, as in augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, or any similar mediated reality. Dictionary

  2. Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for any technology that alters reality by adding digital elements to the physical or real-world environment to any extent and includes, but is not limited to, augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR).

    Any new technology that blends the physical and virtual world will also be categorized as XR. The “X” in XR stands for any variable—any letter of the alphabet—that may be used in the future for such technologies.

    Therefore, the term extended reality does not refer to any specific technology; it includes any existing or new technologies that may be created in the future that alter reality, either by blending the digital and the physical world or by creating a fully virtual environment. Interaction Design Foundation

Virtual Reality

  1. Images and sounds created by a computer that seem almost real to the user, who can interact with them by using sensors Oxford Dictionary
  1. Virtual Reality (VR), the use of computer modeling and simulation that enables a person to interact with an artificial three-dimensional (3-D) visual or other sensory environment. VR applications immerse the user in a computer-generated environment that simulates reality through the use of interactive devices, which send and receive information and are worn as goggles, headsets, gloves, or body suits. In a typical VR format, a user wearing a helmet with a stereoscopic screen views animated images of a simulated environment. Britannica

Augmented Reality

  1. A technology that combines computer-generated images on a screen with the real object or scene that you are looking at. Oxford Dictionary

  2. Augmented Reality, in computer programming, a process of combining or “augmenting” video or photographic displays by overlaying the images with useful computer-generated data. The earliest applications of augmented reality were almost certainly the “heads-up-displays” (HUDs) used in military airplanes and tanks, in which instrument panel-type information is projected onto the same cockpit canopy or viewfinder through which a crew member sees the external surroundings. Britannica

Mixed Reality

  1. A blend of the real-world environment and computer-generated content viewed on a screen or other display, in which the virtual content and the physical environment coexist and react to each other in real time. Dictionary

  2. Mixed Reality (MR) visual displays, a particular subset of Virtual Reality (VR) related technologies that involve the merging of real and virtual worlds somewhere along the "virtuality continuum" which connects completely real environments to completely virtual ones.

    The most straightforward way to view a Mixed Reality environment, therefore, is one in which real world and virtual world objects are presented together within a single display, that is, anywhere between the extrema of the virtuality continuum. Milgram, P., & Kishino, F. (1994). A taxonomy of mixed reality visual displays. IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems, 77(12), 1321–1329.


  1. A virtual reality space in which users can interact with an environment generated by computer and with other users. Oxford Dictionary

  2. The term “metaverse" originates from the science fiction novel, Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. Metaverse is a combination of “meta" (meaning beyond) and the stem “verse" from "universe", denoting the next-generation Internet in which the users, as avatars, can interact with each other and software applications in a three dimensional (3D) virtual space. There has been approximately 30 years’ development behind the evolution of this term. Duan, H., Li, J., Fan, S., Lin, Z., Wu, X., and Cai, W.

Spatial Computing

  1. Simon Greenwold defines spatial computing as human interaction with a machine in which the machine retains and manipulates referents to real objects and spaces.

    A system that allows users to place objects from their environments into a machine for digitization is spatial computing. Spatial computing differs from related fields such as 3D modeling and digital design in that it requires the forms and spaces it deals with to pre-exist and have real-world valence. It is not enough that the screen be used to represent a virtual space—it must be meaningfully related to an actual place. Greenwold, S. (2003). Spatial Computing. Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  2. Spatial computing is a set of ideas and technologies that transform our lives by understanding the physical world, knowing and communicating our relation to places in that world, and navigating through those places. Uber, Google Maps, and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are applications of spatial computing that most people will recognize, but the applications and technologies have a reach much wider than these consumer applications.

    The definition of spatial thus includes not only physical space but also time.

    Spatial computing began as a way to represent Earth, but the work of today and tomorrow will continue to evolve beyond the surface of our planet. Shekhar, S., & Vold, P.


  1. WebXR is an API for web content and apps to use to interface with mixed reality hardware such as VR headsets and glasses with integrated augmented reality features. This includes both managing the process of rendering the views needed to simulate the 3D experience and the ability to sense the movement of the headset (or other motion-sensing gear) and provide the needed data to update the imagery shown to the user. Mozilla Developer

  2. Immersive computing introduces strict requirements for high-precision, low-latency communication in order to deliver an acceptable experience. It also brings unique security concerns for a platform like the web. The WebXR Device API provides the interfaces necessary to enable developers to build compelling, comfortable, and safe immersive applications on the web across a wide variety of hardware form factors. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Ubiquitous Computing

(also known as Pervasive Computing and Ambient Intelligence)

  1. Ubiquitous computing has as its goal the nonintrusive availability of computers throughout the physical environment, virtually, if not effectively, invisible to the user. Unlike virtual reality, ubiquitous computing will integrate information displays into the everyday physical world. Its proponents value the nuances of the real world and aim only to augment them. And unlike current personal digital assistants, ubiquitous computing will be a world of fully connected devices, with cheap wireless networks; it will not require that you carry around a PDA, since information will be accessible everywhere. Weiser, M. (1993). Hot Topics - Ubiquitous Computing. Computer 26, 10.

Mediated Presence

  1. The feeling that you’re really there.

Virtual Environment (VE)

Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs)