What is XR and how does it support Metaverse?

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(Pocket-lint)-With the conversation around the Metaverse and how we interact with it growing, you might hear the word XR more often.

While most people are familiar with virtual reality thanks to the popularity of devices like the Oculus Quest. You may not be very familiar with the concept of XR, and the way the term is used is often too small to clarify what the XR really is. Fortunately, the XR is easier than it looks, so let’s do it.

What is XR?

XR is an acronym for Extended Reality. It is an umbrella term that covers a combination of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. Devices that claim to be XR-capable can provide experiences relevant to all three. So, to better understand what the XR needs, here’s a refresh of its three main components.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is a technology that allows you to put on a headset and enter a virtual world that you can interact with. It’s often used for gaming, but VR can also be used to create art, have social interactions, and even be used as a fitness tool.

Augmented reality

AR is the process of integrating virtual elements into the real world. You probably already have AR experience using your phone’s camera. Some examples are games like Pokemon Go or Snapchat filters that put 3D objects in your head.

mixed truth

MR combines VR and AR to create an immersive experience where virtual objects interact with the real world. MR is still an evolving technology and often relies on niche hardware such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

What devices support the XR?

Because XR is an umbrella term that covers everything from VR gaming to, in some sense, simple things like Google Maps; it can be difficult to determine exactly what an XR device is. Technically, your phone is an XR device but that’s not the kind of experience we’re talking about in this article.

We believe that the best examples of XR devices are headsets that can create MR and VR experiences on one device. Today, these are mostly traditional VR headsets with front cameras, such as the Vive Pro 2 and the Valve Index.

Unfortunately, these devices are likely VR first, which MR feels like an afterthought. This is for the simple reason that there is a lot more VR content to play and use, compared to MR which is more niche, often explored in the corporate and industry sectors.

Now, however, with companies like Meta pushing to integrate XR experiences, we expect to see more XR-powered devices hit the market.

How to use XR in Metaverse?

Technically speaking, the metaverse concept described by Facebook (or Meta) is XR. Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse is “the future we’re working for. A virtual environment where you can be with people in a digital space.” He also said that the Facebook metaverse can be accessed from all devices and apps, so it’s not a VR experience.

As frustrating as the metaverse concept is, we know it will require elements of VR, AR, and MR and blend it with the traditional use of the internet as a platform for interaction, gaming, and collaboration. If it sounds like the XR, that’s because it is.

Written by Luke Baker.

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