So many Realities… I need an Agent.

Headline:  A/R versus V/R versus X/R


What is “VR” v. “AR” v. “XR?”

Intro: A confession I have to make first, is that I occasionally watch… South Park.  From time to time, their social commentary is so entirely on point, you grimace through the poop jokes to see the larger points.   In one episode, the South Park officials were convening to discuss what should be done to address the threat AI was posing to their community.  One guy, in the South Park Militia, kept shouting, “They took our jobs!!”    Although this was meant to be humorous, it brings up a really valuable point.  The next article I was reading was about VR, AR and the mysterious XR, and I was motivated to learn more about the differences and, sometimes, the ramifications.


VR immerses the user in a virtual environment to create believable experiences, whether they immerse the user in a real-life situation or a creative imaginary experience.   Sometimes first responders don these goggles to virtually “walk” thru a building that they were about to enter.  Other people use them to participate in games.   The sexy bit is that your body can be in one environment, and your attention is in a completely different environment.  With headsets, goggles and even haptic feedback, the flow of information to the player, and FROM the player is bi-directional and continuous.


Augmented Reality (AR) requires a bit of an explanation.    Goggles and headphones might be both used.  But, as one looks thru the glasses, one will see the world as it physically is, but with extra information superimposed on it.  For instance, a police officer might have goggles on that identify where there are people hidden.  For normal people, you will still see the pizza joint in front of you, but you might also see a rotating sign that says, “FREE Pizza, just leave your opinion on our service.”  In reality, the sign does not exist, but in the goggles, it is very salient, in bright purple.


Extended Reality (XR) encompasses both of these and the metaverse.  As the article said, “Think of a 3D internet that you could access from anywhere through a laptop, smartphone or headset.”  One particularly interesting use case of XR is the virtually trying on of clothes.  In the past we pick out 3 or 4 garments we want, into the back to try them on, one by one.   With XR, we can step into a booth, and the computer scans our body to make a hyper-accurate digital model of our body.   Then, with those measurements and the model, the computer can virtually “try on” the clothes and see accurately how the digital clothes mathematically fit on the digital body. 

XR is being used in business.    Some manufacturing plants haver been designed with XR designed into it.    In some manufacturing plants, when a machine is needing maintenance, a virtual orange arrow will appear above the machine, indicating to personnel that attention is required.  When the proper goggles are worn, these orange arrows can be seen.  In the consumer world, probably the best-known example of XR technology is the Occulus Rift headset.  This headset can be used with a variety of entertainment software packages.  Finally, that most annoying cat-filter found on a Zoom call is an example of XR technology.

Summation Table

VRXRAugmented Reality
Fully virtual experience.Umbrella term for A/R, V/R and metaverse.Virtual elements are added to the normally-viewed landscape.
Works through a headset.Works through a headset or smartphone.
You see ONLY the virtual world.You see the real physical world with items floated on top of it.
There are FREE  apps, but they do require a headset.Can be used for Free through mobile apps.

The Verdict

There are an awful lot of new terms we have to define as these new technologies  begin to hit the mainstream, but this is nothing new.  Until the early 1990s, a “CD” was a certificate of deposit that on held at a bank, with the expectation of a decent rate of return.  After this, CD often referred to  a plastic/metallic disk that will either play music or transfer other data.  We will gain comfort with these new labels as time goes on.


AR, VR, MR, and XR – what they mean and how they’ll transform lives (

What is VR, AR & XR? Meanings, Explanations and Examples (

AR vs. VR vs. MR vs. XR: Which Extended Reality Is The Best? (

What Is Extended Reality (XR) and How Is it Changing the Future? | HP® Tech Takes

AR versus VR versus XR.docx




Editor’s Note: Please note that the information contained herein is meant only for general education: This should not be construed as Tax Advice.   Personal attributes could make a material difference in the advice given, so, before taking action, please consult your tax advisor or CPA.