Immersive Technology Terms
Tools & Engines
VR - Short for 'virtual reality'. Generally used to describe 3D applications that are viewed inside of a headset to transport the viewer to a virtual world. Examples of VR devices include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, and FOVE.
AR - Short for 'augmented reality'. Used to describe applications or hardware that add digital visual elements to the world around us. Examples of AR devices include Meta Glass, Google Glass, and Google Tango phones.
MR - Used for either 'mixed' or 'merged' reality to describe applications, technologies, or hardware that combine various elements of virtual and augmented reality technologies. Examples of MR devices include Microsoft's HoloLens and Magic Leap
HMD - 'Head mounted display'. A device worn on the head for AR, MR, or VR, generally with lenses and a display to show digital content to the user. These devices may be tethered to a PC, completely standalone, or mobile-phone based.
360 Content - an image, video, or CG (computer generated) experience that surrounds the entire area around a viewer. Often used as "360 degree video/photo" to differentiate between an interactive experience. An example of computer-generated 360 degree video content is Oculus Story Studio's Henry.
Interactive Experience - an application that allows the user to control various elements of the program. An example of interactive VR content is Google's Tiltbrush.
Game Engine - a software program designated 'middleware' to assist with the creation of 3D experiences. Examples of game engines include Unreal Engine and Unity.
WebXR - The API and frameworks in place to bring virtual and augmented reality support into the browser. The WebXR API is a collaboration and standard supported by Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Facebook / Oculus.
Social VR - experiences that are built for simultaneous use by multiple people, sharing a digital space.
Untethered - a device that does not need to be plugged into a computer to run virtual or augmented reality content. Also called a wireless or standalone headset. Examples include the Oculus Quest
Desktop VR - a headset powered by a desktop computer. Generally has higher performance and more extensive tracking capabilities than a mobile VR headset, with a trade-off in price and portability. Examples include the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Mobile VR - a headset that is powered by a mobile smartphone. Generally lower in cost, more portable, and less feature-complete than desktop VR headsets. Examples include Daydream and Gear VR.
OpenXR - the Khronos initiative for a common virtual and augmented reality standard for immersive devices and software applications
3D Modeling - the process of using software to create a model that can be used as an asset in a 3D application. Common 3D modeling tools include Blender, Maya, and 3DS Max. Popular VR applications for 3D modeling are Tiltbrush and Medium.