Mixed reality (MR) training utilizes both augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to blend the physical and digital worlds. With MR headsets like Microsoft Hololens 2, Nreal Light, and Google Glass, MR uses advanced computer technology, digital graphics, and physical motions that allow learners to co-exist and interact with physical and digital objects in real-time.
Real-life examples of mixed reality for corporate training include:
- Healthcare Training — Access critical patient information and receive live support from healthcare specialists.
- Technical Training — Receive just-in-time training support to accelerate complex assembly tasks and reduce mistakes.
- Manufacturing Training — Drive innovation and increase productivity through overlaid images, diagrams, and videos.
Healthcare is one of the top sectors expected to see the most investment in mixed reality (MR) development. While MR is largely improving how healthcare professionals learn, this technology is being used across different industries, including education, military, manufacturing, and even retail.
MR is revolutionizing training as we know it. By utilizing both augmented and virtual reality, MR creates a unique learning environment that simulates the real-world and allows for realistic interactions to occur.
At Roundtable Learning, we stay up to date on the latest technologies making their way into the learning and development (L&D) space. Through custom learning solutions, we collaborate with organizations across the U.S. to implement training programs with future learning technologies.
This article will define mixed reality, explore popular mixed reality devices, and provide 3 real-life examples of using mixed reality for corporate training.
What Is Mixed Reality?
Mixed reality (MR) training utilizes both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to blend the physical and digital worlds. MR uses advanced computer technology, digital graphics, and physical motions that allow learners to co-exist and interact with physical and digital objects in real-time.
To better understand the capabilities of MR, let’s differentiate between AR and VR:
- Augmented reality (AR) — AR adds interactive, digital elements to a live, real-world environment. Through a phone, tablet, or headset, learners can interact with computer-generated objects in a 3D space.
- Virtual reality (VR) — VR simulates any real world you can imagine, enabling learners to encounter true-to-life scenarios without real-world risk. Typically accessed through a headset, VR uses pre-recorded video or a fully simulated learning environment.
With MR, learners can look 360 degrees across an entire space and complete a variety of actions, including:
- Place a holographic object into the real world as if it were physically present and complete realistic interactions
- View pictures, complex diagrams, and informational videos
- Receive in-the-moment performance support from experts
- Overlay detailed images on real-life objects and people
- Create a 3D map of their learning environment
Popular Mixed Reality Headset Devices
- Tethered or Untethered: Untethered
- Price: $3500
- Key Features: Hand and eye tracking, 6DoF tracking, voice control, enterprise-grade security, spatial mapping
Microsoft Hololens 2 is the most popular MR headset that brings precise 3D digital elements into the real-world through waveguides and light projectors on the headset itself. Proven to reduce training time, train with greater accuracy, and reduce the time it takes to process information, Hololens 2 allows learners to complete hands-free intuitive interactions with holographic training materials.
- Tethered or Untethered: Tethered
- Price: ~ $600
- Key Features: Two spatial computing cameras, 6DoF tracking, dual microphones, spatial sound, compatible with smartphones equipped with a USB-C port, Nebula software
Nreal Light is a tethered MR training option that connects with a learner’s 5G smartphone. After downloading Nreal’s one-of-a-kind 3D user interface system on a compatible device, learners can project 2D content onto an interactive virtual 3D training space.
- Tethered or Untethered: Untethered
- Price: ~ $1000
- Key Features: 83° field of view (FOV), mono speaker, 3 microphones, multi-touch gesture touchpad, 3 inertial sensors
Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 provides hands-on learning with glanceable, voice-activated assistance that’s designed to be worn for long periods of time. With a comfortable, lightweight profile, Google Glass runs on an Android Open Source Platform and supports in-the-moment performance assistance.
3 Real-Life Use Cases Of Mixed Reality Training
Mixed Reality For Collaborative Healthcare Training
MR training is used in the healthcare industry to connect healthcare professionals with the information they need to provide top-quality patient support. Using MR for healthcare training comes with the following benefits:
- Reduce procedure times
- Improve precision during critical procedures
- Reduce complication rates
- Lessen exposure to radiation
By superimposing 3D views of MRI images, CT scans, and other models with MR, multidisciplinary healthcare teams can collaborate remotely with others, conduct virtual patient consultations, and receive instantaneous support during critical procedures.
Just-In-Time Performance Support For Technicians
In the manufacturing space, MR is a reliable training tool to support field service teams and front-line technicians through real-time assistance. Within the manufacturing space, MR comes with a variety of benefits, including:
- Improve onboarding
- Upskill employees efficiently
- Reduce errors and mistakes on the job
- Accelerate complex assembly tasks
- Empower employees through real-time remote assistance
For example, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) used MR training to transform technician support, efficiency, and problem-resolution through remote, real-time assistance. To combat difficulties diagnosing issues in a vast number of vehicles, MBUSA used MR headsets to connect experts with technicians at remote locations to help service vehicles in real-time.
Aircraft Manufacturing With Mixed Reality
MR is being used in the aircraft manufacturing space to help employees maintain efficiency and safety while on the job. When used in the manufacturing space, MR helps organizations:
- Increase the quality of their products
- Improve safety
- Reduce the level of human error
A pioneer in the aerospace engineering space, Airbus accelerated the designing and manufacturing of aircrafts with MR training. Given the hands-free nature of a MR headset, learners could continue to complete complex tasks in real life with instantaneous support through overlaid images, diagrams, and videos.
Mix It Up With Mixed Reality!
This article has reviewed the basics of mixed reality, from what it is to 3 real-life applications of MR technology.