WE/AR Blog VR/AR/MR Glossary: 100 Basic Terms
Dark Mode

VR/AR/MR Glossary: 100 Basic Terms

By Veronika Petrenko
14 min read
Last updated on 02.06.2022 at 12:07


What is the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality? What about mixed reality? How much does augmented reality app cost? Here are the answers to all your questions? 

Extended reality (XR) – the environments that permit the interaction of computers and people and which enable the appearance of mixed reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Virtual Reality (VR) – computer-simulated environment that can be accessed with the help of a special headset. For now, 3 out of 3 senses are often simulated in VR (vision, hearing, touch), yet in some virtual reality arcades, users receive full immersion (along with taste and touch).

Augmented reality (AR) – the overlay of digital information over the physical world which can be experienced with the help of camera-equipped devices, such as a smartphone or a tablet.

Mixed reality (MR) – the most controversial concept of XR. The reality which, apart from the overlay of digital data on the real world, includes the adaptation of this data to the physical world and interaction with this information.  


Immersion – the feeling of the disappearance of self and total merge with a virtual avatar. Immersion can include tactical immersion, strategic immersion, and emotional immersion.

Presence – the sense of self-created inside virtual reality. There are several theories that explain the appearance of the effect of presence: the elemental theory of presence of  Kent Buy ( includes emotional, social, embodied, and active presence) and perceptual theory of presence ( including sight, audition, somatosensory, olfaction, and gustation).

WOW effect – one of the most common effects produced by VR/AR/MR application explained by the feeling of awe and surprise evoked by 3D models and animations.

Empathy – the possibility to recognize and react to emotions of other people which is induced in VR due to a high level of immersion.

Suspension of disbelief – a conscious choice of a VR user to believe in the simulation. This phenomenon makes VR a powerful tool.

Agency – the capability of the entity or a person to act freely inside a virtual environment which contributes to the sense of presence.

Storytelling – the possibility of utilization of VR/AR/MR for creating a narrative of a company or a person due to the excellent level of visualization and empathy.

Visualization – a unique capacity of VR/AR/MR to display complex 3D objects and even environment from all the perspectives. NASA uses AR visualization capacity to showcase their spacecrafts.

Storyliving – the ability to experience the story emotionally in VR thanks to the excellent level of presence, the concept that substituted the concept of storytelling

Duck test is a colloquial name for a method of testing if a user has reached a state of presence by monitoring their behaviour when threatened by a virtual object

Erleben experience – very intense emotional experience that changes user’s life radically. VR usage is often regarded as erleben experience.

Erfahren experience – an external experience that gives a user the possibility to learn something new.

Flow – the sense of synchronization with virtual experience to the extent when the sense of time disappears.

Place Illusion – the feeling of real existence in a virtual environment

Gamification – utilization of game-design elements for increasing the level of engagement of clients. AR/VR are generally used as the most effective tools of gamification.


3D graphics – the field of computer graphics which embraces 3D objects modeling, texturing, and utilization of special effects for creation of 3D content.  

3D modeling – creation of virtual objects of existing physical objects that can be viewed from all the angles.

3D animation – the process of creation of the moving 3D images in digital environment.

Motion tracking – the technology the permits a user to engage and interact with the virtual world.

Head tracking – recognition of head movements of a user for updating a display to the user’s viewpoint and preserving a stable level of emotional experience.

Eyes tracking – recognition of eyes movement for the integration of the user’s experience with a virtual environment.

Latency – the delay between action in VR and the reaction that follows. The latest high-end VR headsets have the lowest latency possible.

Field of view – the perspective which is available to a viewer. Normal human field of view is 200 degrees, in virtual reality users can observe the reality in 360.

Collision detection – the capability of 3D objects to detect the boundaries of each other and interact accordingly.

Haptics – utilization of external devices ( special gloves, shoes, suits), with the help of which VR users can receive feedback from computer applications. Marker for AR is a visual cue which triggers the display of the digital information.

Facial recognition – computer vision technology that is used for creating AR filters in the case when a human face is used for the application.

Emergent narrative – the narrative in which computer-controlled characters have a full autonomy in a game.

Hotspots – the spots that permit revealing additional augmented reality content.

Room scaling – the possibility to move around a certain environment freely after creating a design paradigm of this place.

3D tour ( a virtual reality tour)  is the tour in which a customer can preview the environment he/she is

about to attend.

Avatar – a virtual representation of a user inside virtual reality or an audiovisual body inside a virtual space.

Augmented reality application – the application for a mobile phone or a tablet that allows viewing digital information overlaid on the digital world.

Virtual reality application – the application created for VR HMD in which a user can immerse into the environment fully and can interact with it.

Mixed reality application is the application created for HoloLens ( the only MR device known)  in which a user can interact with digital information.

360 video – a spherical video that allows viewing the environment in every possible direction. Is used for real estate VR tours, museum tours in VR.  

VR portfolio – a resume created for the full immersive vision.

VR/AR/MR Applications


Augmented reality navigation – the overlay of digital information on the physical space in the unknown locations for the improvement of the orientation. Such AR apps are often used in real estate sector.

AR app for navigation will soon be developed by Airbnb.

Augmented reality for quality assurance – finding discrepancies and errors in different parts or assemblies after overlaying of the digital information above them.

Augmented reality windshield– the overlay of digital information on the windshield of the car for acquiring additional information regarding traffic, directions, the distance between different cars for more efficient driving.

Vision picking – the overlay of digital information on the physical objects in warehouses that is visible via special smart glasses. This technology allows improving the effectiveness and productivity of employees. Used by DHL employees.

Augmented reality car repair – using AR technology to display guidelines overlaid on the car details to assist users in car repair. Implemented by Huyndai.

Augmented reality guidelines – the information overlaid on physical objects that help during assemblage or repair used in aircraft and car manufacture often.

Augmented reality measuring – the possibility to measure distances accurately using special AR apps.

VR meeting space – a special VR space for organizing a meeting for employees who live in different countries.

VR training – using VR for preparing military men or employees for stressful real life situations. The advantage of VR training is that there is no necessity to disrupt operations. That’s why Walmart uses VR often.


Augmented reality education apps – apps that allow visualizing complex visual information, such as body organs or volcanoes’ eruption, for improving the level of understanding. There are apps for visualizing of chemical reactions and the apps that permit animals dissection in AR.

Augmented reality books – books in which textual and visual content can be animated after the installation of a certain AR app.

VR for language learning – creation of a virtual linguistic environment for stimulating learners’ speaking skills. In VR, language learners can interact with a teacher or other users or with virtual avatars.

VR for medical students – the possibility to explore the human body in 360 degrees with the help of high-end HMDs.

Virtual reality tours – using VR for transporting students and pupils into the places they can’t reach, such as open space or ancient Rome.


Augmented reality for routine procedures – the overlay of digital information over the human body for the alleviation nurses’ work, such as injection.

Mixed Reality for pre-operative planning – using holograms to preview body organs and train with incisions.

VR for PTSD treatment – the creation of a virtual environment in VR for improving the level of the exposure therapy for managing PTSD symptoms.

VR for phobias treatment – using VR for improving the level of visualization in exposure therapy for treating phobias with the help of gradual desensitization to the stimuli that provoke fear.

VR reconstruction for surgery – the preview of 2D scans (MRI, CT) with the help of VR HMDs which allows more effective preparation for surgery.

VR medical training – training of medical students using 360 tours inside a human body.

VR for meditation – using a fully simulated environment, such as beautiful Japanese gardens or a seashore, for helping users get attuned to meditation.

VR for pain management – using a fully- simulated environment to distract patient’s attention from pain and reducing it in this way.

VR for sports training – using virtual reality for immersion in a fully simulated computer environment for better training or creation of a 3D avatar.

VR for addiction treatment – utilization of computer-simulated virtual environment for recreating trigger situations for addicts and teaching them to resist to them.


Augmented reality shopping experience – the possibility to preview 3D models of the products and buy them in virtual reality stores, such as Allo. 

Augmented reality marketing – utilization of augmented reality applications for promoting products. It’s an effective marketing strategy because it creates WOW effect, it’s experiential, and it helps to increase brand awareness naturally. AR marketing strategy is used by Ikea or Zara.

AR advertising – using 3D models and animations to create WOW effect or to enable a longer communication with the brand.

Augmented reality screen or immersive screen – using of augmented reality to improve customers’ shopping experience letting them fit clothes virtually.

Augmented reality make up app – the app that can be downloaded on users’ smartphones and tablets that allows overlaying make up on the faces of the users. Used by l’Oreal.  

Augmented reality for presentations – using AR to visualize complex 3D models for improving the level of visualization. Is often used in real estate and architecture. Several weeks ago NASA created an app that allows visualizing spacecrafts.


CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) – fully virtual capsule for engineering and design of car prototypes used by companies created in the cube consisting of 3 or 6 walls. Projectors display VR images on the walls of the CAVE creating a special environment that can be controlled by a user inside. Ford uses CAVE for car manufacture and design.

VR for Cars Design – using prototypes of the car in VR to improve, modify or change the design of the cars completely.

AR Apps for Architecture allows visualization of 3D models, prototyping, and real-time rendering of 3D objects.


VR Gaming is a unique chance to experience a fully simulated 3D environment and interact with it. It’s the advanced level of gaming compared to the traditional video gaming.

VR Social Network – a social network with 3D avatars and incredible capacities of interaction in VR.  Facebook Spaces is one of the most VR social networks today.

AR Gaming is the overlay of game visual and audio content on the physical reality of a gamer for the creation of a higher level of presence.  

VR Sex Gaming is interacting with 3D modeled avatars for sexual experience.

VR Broadcasting – live streaming of fashion shows, sports games, and concerts to all the owners of HMDs.Most NBA basketball games are now available in VR.

VR Porn is the embodiment of virtual avatar for having personalized sexual or pornographic experience.


HMD (head-mounted display) – any headset used to experience virtual or mixed reality.

HTC Vive– high-end VR head-mounted display created by HTC that requires a powerful PC and controllers.It can offer 2160 x 1200 resolution, OLED display, and  360-degree immersive experiences. Excellent HTC Vive is the best HMD in terms of resolution, audio, the level of immersion which makes it the most expensive headset on the market.

Oculus Rift – a high-end head-mounted display created by Facebook that can boast  2160 x 1200 resolution, OLED display ( the same as Vive, besides) and  360-degree immersive experiences. Requires PC and doesn’t have controllers. More affordable than HTC Vive.

Magic Leap is the HMD of the next generation which raised the biggest investment in the world of VR so far. This headset is supposed to have a stunning light-field technology that can make 3D objects not only look real but feel real.

HoloLens – a unique mixed reality device created by Microsoft that offers users the possibility to interact with digital information freely.

Samsung Gear VR – a head-mounted display that allows viewing virtual reality via their Androids which makes this device a real bargain for Samsung owners.

Sony Playstation VR – a head-mounted display created by Sony that works in pair with PlayStation console.It is a perfect device for excellent gaming experience due to 7 inch OLED display, 1920 x 1080 high-definition screen resolution, and a 100-degree field of view.

Google Cardboard is the cheapest and the least immersive VR headset created from carton to be used in pair with a smartphone.

Gloves – interactive devices that allow a user to “feel” inside VR, system and providing more accurate motion control inside virtual reality.

Controllers – input devices used for interaction inside VR.

Haptic Suit – a wearable device that provides users with tactile feedback in virtual reality.


Virtual Reality Sickness – discomfort accompanied with nausea, headache, and drowsiness caused by the dissonance between the visual information and the information received by the inner ear.

Addiction to VR – the phenomenon similar to the addiction to video games. The person gets so overwhelmed. By the possibilities of the virtual world that he/she loses interest in the real world.

VR for Kids – the exact effect of VR on kids is not clear yet that is why VR is not recommended to children younger than 10.


ARCore – SDK from Google that allows building AR apps for Android devices. It has excellent environmental detection and good motion tracking option.

ARKit – SDK from Apple that allows building AR apps without the need for calibration and has the best level of position tracking available today.

Vuforia – SDK created by Qualcomm which uses computer vision, flat surfaces tracking and simple 3D Models.

Unreal – game engine that allows creating games and simulated spaces for the majority of platforms and operational systems.

Unity is one of the most popular game engines used for creating 3D video games and simulations for all the types of devices.