Mixed reality vs augmented reality

While virtual reality immerses the user into a completely artificial, digital environment, both mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR) overlay information on the real world.

With both technologies you use a headset, glasses or a handheld device to view your environment, overlaid with digital content.

MR can be seen as an enhanced form of AR, where virtual objects are integrated into the real world. As an example, a virtual ball under a table is only visible unless you bend down to see it.

MR enables more advanced blending of virtual objects into the real world, so it requires more processing power. At this stage, most MR applications are still in development and not yet widely available.

Using these tools in design

The technology is invaluable to the design process in enabling stakeholders to gain a visual impression of what a new port asset would look like. It allows designers, stakeholders, clients, asset managers and more to visualise and interact with data. For example, it can visualise strain through a structure or help us understand the impact to wildlife of lengthening a dock wall.

Design options can be presented in a 2D or 3D demonstration, to give a real sense of scale, sightlines and visual impact. The user can walk or drive around the port development, viewing a proposed asset from all angles. AR and MR provide a level playing field of perception, where everyone shares the same experience.

The latest MR developments enable us to go further than ever before. 3D elements can now be displayed ‘live’ in a room so that they can be evolved and co-created as part of a team meeting.

Asset management

A smart port collects vast amounts of data to help manage and improve performance. But to be effective, that data must be translated in real time via an engaging, easy to use interface.

AR and MR offer the perfect vehicle. Here’s an example: an operative views a pump room’s current performance through a headset such as Microsoft HoloLens. Her visual view of the pumps is overlaid with information about pressures in each unit, input and output levels and inspection dates.

Any smart port asset can be augmented in this way to suit any specific data requirement: whether it be the levels of strain on a lock gate, energy usage at individual vessel berths or the performance of automated terminal processes.


Our expertise

At Royal HaskoningDHV we adopt digital channels to deliver to every client’s specific requirements. We are deploying AR and MR technology in a wide variety of ways to help translate complex data in real time to deliver competitive advantage.

Our proven track record in innovation and problem-solving places us perfectly to create tailor made solutions that solve unique challenges and unlock opportunities for any smart port.

To understand more about AR and MR in a port context, contact our team today.