Glossary Definition: Mixed Reality (MR)

What is mixed reality?

Mixed reality (MR) blends physical and digital worlds together, enabling users to simultaneously interact with both real-world and virtual environments and objects. 

Social media filters are an example of MR technology. In this scenario, users leverage MR via smartphones or tablets to change their face, background, and/or environment. This interaction happens in real time, with users aware of their current “real world” setting, while also getting to engage with digital objects. 

Unlike virtual reality (VR) which immerses users into an entirely virtual 3D environment or augmented reality (AR) which integrates digital information into a user’s physical environment, MR combines aspects of both of these technologies. Industries that use MR technology include education, entertainment, defense, healthcare, and pharma.

What are other names for mixed reality?

Mixed reality is a combination of both VR and AR technology.

Therefore, MR is sometimes also referred to as:

  • Hybrid reality
  • Extended reality (XR)

Both of these terms denote the blended nature of mixed reality, and are used interchangeably (although, less commonly than mixed reality). 

How can mixed reality be used in pharma?

There are various uses for mixed reality in pharma, including new employee onboarding, shop floor training, and enhanced virtual video collaboration

With access to physical and digital environments and objects, MR drives speed and consistency by allowing workers to collaborate in real time — regardless of location. What’s more, with MR-enabled devices, operators can quickly troubleshoot with experts and vendors wherever they are. As a result, downtime is minimized and quality improves. 

MR technology typically integrates with a company’s manufacturing execution system, allowing for greater control and tracking throughout the manufacturing process. Lastly, with MR technology, workers have access to ongoing, comprehensive training. This improves worker speed and agility and reduces the likelihood of human errors.

Why is mixed reality important in pharma?

Mixed reality is vital in pharma because it’s revolutionizing how companies onboard and upskill their workers. From initial training to continuous improvement, better collaboration, and optimized workflows, MR helps pharma companies save time and money on drug research and batch manufacturing

With MR technology, pharma professionals can:

  • Communicate with colleagues anywhere
  • Maintain compliance with pharma regulations
  • Enhance and accelerate global development and manufacturing

MR technology marries virtual and augmented realities to provide users with the right information, at the right time. Equipped with accurate insights, MR technology guides users through training sessions, research, and manufacturing, allowing them to make informed decisions every step of the way without hesitation. The end result? Drugs are manufactured faster with heightened speed and reliability.