In the graphic above we've tried to show the difference between the systems in terms of the access device and what they are trying to do to reality.
In one dimension we have whether the system is trying to completely replace what the user is seeing/experience - they only see the digital world, or whether it is augmenting it - adding new content into what the user otherwise sees as the physical world.
In the other dimension we have whether the system is accessed through a flat screen or a headset. The flat screen might be an ordinary PC screen, or a tablet or smartphone, whilst the headset might be a VR one or an MR one. A key point is that for the AR/MR solutions the access devices has some way of also showing the physical world which is being manipulated - via the phone camera for AR, or a transparent visor for MR.
These two dimensions then give us our four main use cases:
- AR - which is overlaying reality but viewed through a (conventional) flat screen
- MR - which is overlaying reality but viewed through a headset (visor)
- 2D/3D systems like Second Life/computer games - which is completely replacing reality and viewed through a flat 2D screen
- HMD VR - which is completely replacing reality and viewed through a headset (screen)
Let us know if you've any comments on this segmentation, and/or if you find it of use.