The Various Forms of ‘Cross Reality’

X Reality (XR or Cross-reality) is an all-encompassing flexible term that accommodates all aspects of computer-altered reality like mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), etc. The ‘X’ can stand for any other letter as a variable.

As the collaboration between man and machine increases, a wide combination of hardware and software is continually being used to bring digital objects into the real word to generate new forms of reality. Wikipedia defines XR as a mould of “mixed reality environment that comes from the union of …ubiquitous sensor/actuator networks and shared online virtual worlds…” It is also defined as extended reality.

In their paper titled All Reality, researchers Steve Mann, John C. Havens, Jay Iorio, Yu Yuan, and Tom Furness, define XR as reality “[…] based on an “X-axis” defining a number line that passes through both “reality” and “virtuality”, along a one-dimensional path, i.e. as parameterized by one scalar real number, X ∈ R”.

If we were to split hairs a bit, we would see that VR is the real world replaced with a simulated experience of real-world digital content (360 degree image/video) or synthetic computer-generated content, or a blend of both. AR allows the real world and the virtual world to be experienced at the same time. MR is a step further, blending and making alterations to reality.

It is interesting to note that there are further developments in the definition and scope of digital realities, where we see terms like Mediated reality (X,Y) and All Reality.  All Reality here is defined as multimediated reality (*R, or all realities), where the asterisk (*) is a wildcard that can take on any other symbols, characters, words or phrases.