EXTENDED REALITY (XR) | What is it? Definition and examples

EXTENDED REALITY (XR) | What is it? Definition and examples

The concept of Extended Reality, or XR, arises from the belief that a new technological leap is still needed to reach the maximum potential of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

This technological leap would allow the creation of higher quality and more realistic XR experiences, getting much closer to the experiences that we can live and perceive in the real world.

We can take the example of Augmented Reality, which in the case of inserting 3D objects that do not cast shadows, would cause an unreal perception by the user to feel it as a "fake" environment.

For this reason, technological advances in Extended Reality will gradually allow us to develop increasingly realistic XR experiences, which will finally break down the line between distinguishing the real and the virtual.


What is Extended Reality (XR)?

Extended Reality is a combination of the so-called immersive technologies: VR (Virtual Reality) + AR (Augmented Reality) + MR (Mixed Reality). In other words, Extended Reality, or XR, encompasses all environments, real and virtual, represented by computer graphics or mobile devices.

The X in X-Reality can represent any letter: V virtual reality, A augmented reality, M mixed reality. To understand extended reality you first have to understand the rest of the realities.


extended reality infographic encompassing the technologies that comprise it


In order to get all the realities grouped in a single box and for the person to have a simultaneous VR, AR and MR experience it is still necessary to solve certain technical issues related to aspects such as lighting, motion tracking, etc.

Extended Reality advances are directed in this direction, trying to combine physical and virtual realities until the user is not able to distinguish between them, creating an Extended Reality within the reach of anyone and improving our lives, providing experiences that so far seem like science fiction.

But in reality, it is not a science fiction far removed from our present, since there are several technology companies that are participating in the race to achieve a complete XR experience, and that may be able to achieve it in a matter of years. We can talk about companies such as: Unity Technologies, Qualcomm, Oculus, Nvidia or Steam, among others.

Next we will briefly define and detail each of the technologies that currently make up Extended Reality, so that you have a brief brushstroke of each of them and can distinguish them without excessive problems.


What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual reality is a concept with which many of us are familiar. It is not a new technology, it has been worked with since 1968, although its democratization did not occur until 2013 with the birth of the Oculus Rift DK1.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated representation of a virtual world. In order to enjoy these experiences it is necessary to use VR glasses, helmets... (HMD).

It may be believed that the application of this technology is only intended for entertainment and more specifically for playing video games, but as we demonstrate in DeuSens, it can have multiple applications in business and the corporate world, giving a very clear example with our project HMY Innovation Paradigm.



If you are interested in discovering more uses of Virtual Reality for companies that can inspire you for your next project, we recommend reading our post that will let you know more in detail all the possibilities of VR and how to apply it successfully in your company.

Virtual Reality success stories for companies


What is augmented reality (AR)?

Augmented reality (AR) consists of a technology whose purpose is to achieve an enrichment of the real world through the introduction of virtual elements. These virtual elements are superimposed on the real space, and to do so augmented reality requires a camera that captures the real environment, and a processor that is capable of generating such virtual content.

That is, with augmented reality virtual content is generated and then inserted into the real world. For this reason, to live an AR experience it is necessary to have a device that is capable of carrying out these two functions such as a smartphone, a tablet, augmented reality glasses, a computer, etc.

One of the main features that differentiates augmented reality from virtual reality is that the person experiencing the AR experience is fully aware of their real environment and is able to interact with both realities simultaneously.

AR can be a very useful tool in day-to-day life. At DeuSens we make use of this technology to apply it for example in the industrial sector as in this project: HIAB: augmented reality for industrial catalogs.



If you want to know more ways to apply Augmented Reality in companies of all kinds of sectors, we recommend you to read our post with examples of use so you can see for yourself all the possibilities that this technology has.

Examples of Augmented Reality use for companies


What is mixed reality (MR)?

In 1994, Professor Paul Migram and Fumio Kishino created the concept of mixed reality to explain the relationship between VR and AR.

Mixed reality is a combination of VR and AR that brings together the best aspects of each, unifying the experience.

On the one hand, it allows you to see the real world, as happens with augmented reality, and on the other hand, it has the potential to create incredible virtual worlds, typical of virtual reality. This is not all, since MR anchors these objects to a point in real space, in order to make them seem more real.

Mixed Reality not only facilitates user interaction with the virtual environment but also allows physical objects in the real environment surrounding the user to serve as elements of interaction with the virtual environment.

At DeuSens we have used this technology for this Acciona project, in which operators used Hololens Mixed Reality glasses to streamline the maintenance process of a water pump and avoid errors, seeing the steps to be performed on a virtual water pump in real time.



Extended Reality uses in different sectors

In an increasingly digitized world, Extended Reality (XR) is emerging as a transformative technology, capable of revolutionizing numerous industries by merging the digital and physical worlds.

From military applications to retail innovations, XR is not only enhancing traditional methods, but also opening doors to new possibilities in fields such as healthcare, education, and engineering.

Below, we explore how Extended Reality is being implemented in a variety of professional fields, demonstrating its value and versatility in a variety of practical applications. Through Extended Reality, we discover unlimited potential for learning, operational efficiency, and greater human connection in an ever-evolving technological landscape.
infographic showing the main areas of application of extended reality


1. Extended Reality in the Military

Extended Reality (XR) is revolutionizing military training with advanced simulations and training programs that recreate realistic combat scenarios. These XR systems allow soldiers to gain experience in a controlled environment, minimizing real-world risks and improving tactical effectiveness in the field.

A training room in a military environment with several soldiers equipped with virtual reality equipment, interacting with a complex virtual combat environment.
A soldier wears augmented reality goggles in a simulated battlefield environment, with tactical data and virtual maps overlaid.

2. Marketing & Extended Reality

Marketing is transformed with the implementation of Extended Reality. Campaigns incorporating XR provide highly immersive brand experiences, allowing consumers to interact with products virtually prior to purchase, enriching the customer's decision and enhancing brand image.

A user experiencing a product virtually through extended reality glasses, visualizing a new car in his own garage.
An interactive brand activation in a shopping mall, where consumers interact with augmented reality displays showing new products.

3. Enhanced health through Extended Reality

In the healthcare sector, XR is used to improve medical training, surgical interventions and rehabilitation therapies. The application of XR technologies in complex medical procedures enables healthcare professionals to practice without risk, contributing to safer and more efficient patient care.

A surgeon using virtual reality equipment to simulate a surgical procedure. The image shows the surgeon in an operating room, using a VR viewer showing detailed anatomical structures and surgical tools.
A therapist using virtual reality to conduct an anxiety treatment session with a patient. The image features the therapist in a quiet office, assisting a patient wearing a VR viewer in a peaceful virtual environment.

4. Innovative education with XR

XR is setting a new standard in education, making learning more interactive and effective. Using Extended Reality technology, students can visualize abstract concepts and explore academic content dynamically, facilitating deeper understanding and knowledge retention.

A high school student using virtual reality to walk through ancient Rome, interacting with virtual characters and historical landmarks. The image captures the student, a teenager, wearing a VR viewer, in a detail-rich environment that includes famous structures such as the Colosseum and the Forum.
Students in a classroom using augmented reality glasses to explore the solar system. The image shows children of various ages around a holographic display of the solar system, highlighting an interactive and visual way to learn astronomy.

5. Retail & Extended Reality

The retail industry is rapidly embracing XR to deliver new shopping experiences. From virtual fitting rooms to 3D product visualizations, Extended Reality is shaping the future of shopping, providing customers with a powerful tool to visualize products in their desired context before making a purchase.

A customer using augmented reality in a clothing store to try on different outfits virtually. The image shows a young woman in front of a large digital mirror, looking at herself in various augmented reality outfits.
A shopper using a mobile device to place virtual furniture in his living room and see how it looks. The image shows a middle-aged man holding a tablet that displays a 3D model of a sofa in augmented reality, as if he were actually in the room.

6. Advanced industry with XR

In industry, XR contributes significantly to improving operational and training processes. Through the use of augmented reality, workers can receive detailed visual instructions in real time, improving work accuracy and safety in complex industrial environments.

A factory worker using augmented reality glasses to receive real-time operational instructions while working on an assembly line. The image shows the worker next to complex machinery, with technical data and assembly instructions superimposed.
A training session in an industrial environment where operators use virtual reality to practice operating heavy machinery. The image shows a group of male and female workers wearing VR helmets and participating in a simulated environment that mimics the operation of cranes and forklifts.

7. Immersive entertainment with Extended Reality

The entertainment industry has been an early adopter of XR, creating deeply immersive experiences for games, movies and sporting events. Extended Reality enables users to immerse themselves in digital experiences that completely transform the interaction and enjoyment of content.

Users enjoying a virtual reality game in a modern living room. The image shows several young people of various ethnicities wearing VR headsets, surrounded by virtual elements such as fantastic creatures and exotic landscapes, integrated into the physical space through 3D mesh effects.
A group of friends experiencing an augmented reality movie in a home theater environment. The AR technology superimposes scenes from the movie into their living space, creating an interactive cinema experience with elements such as spaceships and alien creatures appearing around them.

8. Engineering and Extended Reality

Engineering benefits greatly from the implementation of XR for project design and analysis. Engineers can use XR to visualize 3D structures prior to execution, facilitating more efficient and accurate collaborations in the design of complex projects.

An engineer, dressed in smart casual clothes, using augmented reality via a tablet to visualize mechanical parts. He is in a sleek, modern office environment. The engineer holds the tablet that displays a 3D holographic model of mechanical gears and complex components, which appears to float just above the device. The 3D model is thoroughly annotated, including visible stress analysis on the parts.
Engineers using augmented reality to visualize and interact with a complex bridge design in a modern office environment. The image shows a diverse team of engineers examining a detailed holographic model of the bridge that appears to float in the center of the room.


Now that you know each of the technologies that make up Extended Reality, are you curious about more projects and examples where we have used these types of technologies?

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