What’s Altered Reality?

Altered Reality

Altered Reality News was originally created in 2011 as a way to educate our clients at Mass Ideation about Augmented Reality. Leveraging the knowledge we acquired by working with brands like IHOP, Nickelodeon and The Bronx Zoo.

We then started to notice a new term was starting to surface called Mixed Reality all while Virtual Reality had begun to explode in popularity. We then decided to call anything within this group Altered Reality based on The Milgram Continuum.

The Milgram Continuum

The Milgram Continuum or the Virtuality Continuum was created in the late 80’s and early 90’s by Paul Milgram, PhD, P.Eng. Professor of Engineering at the University of Toronto. The diagram below is a great way for anyone to understand the applications and differences for creating and deploying content in these new mediums.

Altered Reality Chart

Altered Reality Begins at Augmented Reality and ends at Virtual Reality.

Reality (RE) …What is

On the left of the continuum lies the reality we all know and have mastered from the time of our births. It’s “What is”. It’s our physical universe in its’ purity. It’s us and the places, things and experiences we encounter daily, with or without machines or drugs for that matter.

Augmented reality (AR)

Where Altered Reality begins is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match.

With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

Mixed Reality (MR)

The spaces between the two realities, are known as “Mixed Reality”. Mixed Reality describes the many gradations of experience types that lay between us and the yet to be fully realized virtual universe. In other words the gradations of experience that brings us to a place where we no longer perceive ourselves in or a part of our “What is” reality.

So if by definition, AR is a way to enhance the “what is” and VR is a way to present the “what could be” there are many points along the continuum that assist us in getting to ultimately.

The really exciting thing about these two technologies will be the way they will allow us to exponentially grow beyond our current communication constructs. New form factors, new whys to present and interact with content, and the world at large. Think about not being constrained by any of our current interface rubrics or metaphors. Imagine being able to be completely immersed in content in new ways not currently used because of our limited ability to think beyond the “What is”.

Virtual Reality (VR) ..What could be

Where Altered Reality ends is on the right side of the continuum lies a reality that is completely virtual, a reality of the “Could be”, an undiscovered universe of possibility, experience and sensation that can be realized with or without the context of our very basic humanity. It is us in a world that may or may not exist. It’s us in a place we have never visited or even thought possible to visit.

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