Ever since virtual reality is a common term and “immersive technologies” can be purchased by normal consumers the exact terms of the technologies are likely to be confused. It should be mentioned that the most common terms – Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality – all serve to describe gradations of reality:
Virtual Reality (VR) describes the fully immersive simulation of physical space, i.e. the complete immersion in a virtual environment. Due to the constant technological development, future virtual realities may not be distinguishable from the real world. Interactive worlds of experience that allow users to immerse themselves with virtual reality glasses are an example of VR.
The currently somewhat overused term immersion describes in the context of VR the immersion in an artificial digital environment. The degree of immersion is strongly determined by the quality of the experience and the willingness of the recipient to accept the artificiality of the virtual worlds. The higher the degree of immersion, the stronger the presence of the users in the virtual experience. The perception of their own existence shifts from the physical environment to the simulated environment.
In contrast to VR Augmented Reality (AR) only overlays the physical reality with digital content. One example of the use of AR are applications in museum environments, where visitors can capture a painting on the wall using a smartphone or tablet camera and the representation on their device is supplemented by new digital layers such as early sketches of the work.