What is SR/DR? Let’s explore the expanding possibilities of XR technology!

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Hello! This is Ota from Daft Craft.
This time I want to introduce you to XR’s fellow “Substitutional Reality (SR)” and “Diminished Reality (DR)”.

In my last blog, I mentioned that Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have become widely known in our daily lives, and that Mixed Reality (MR), a combination of the two, will become more widespread in the future. …… Some of you may be thinking, “What kind of unfamiliar technology is coming out again? SR and DR are actually an extension of MR. However, SR and DR are actually extensions of MR. Yes, MR is an inevitable part of understanding XR.

In this article, I will introduce SR and DR technologies, as well as reviewing the MR technologies introduced in the previous article.


What is SR?

SR is a technology that stands for Substitutional Reality. SR is a technology that replaces reality with a fiction that does not actually exist. It is a bit like AR in the sense that it displays fictional objects, but it differs from AR in that it makes decisions about when and where to display fictional objects based on information such as the time, location, and shape of reality.

For example, in the AR game “Pokémon Go,” you can enjoy the experience as if a Pokémon is right in front of you as long as you turn on the Pokémon AR display mode. In the case of SR, it is as if the dog is automatically replaced by the Pokémon until the dog that is actually in your field of vision is out of sight.

Since 2012, when RIKEN announced the development of the SR System, SR has been used mainly in the creation of art and stage productions. The SR System is not only a headset, but also a system of audio input and output, panoramic cameras, and other devices to create the ultimate state of uncertainty of whether what is happening in front of your eyes is reality or fiction.

However, the experience of ” substituting: replacing reality and fiction” is now taking different forms and can be experienced in many different places.

This one here is called TransforMR, a technology presented as research by Porsche, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and ETH Zurich. In the video, you can see an amazing case where a real-life car is replaced by a witch on a flying broom in real time. Although we have yet to reach the level where we cannot tell whether what is happening in front of our eyes is real or fictional, the fact that we can do this level of substitution in real time is the result of technological evolution!
As the subtitle of the presentation includes “Alternate Mixed Realities,” this technology measures and grasps the real environment and moving objects, and then reflects virtual objects on top of them, so it can be understood as MR.

What is DR?

DR is a technology that stands for Diminished Reality. It is a technology that can virtually cancel out or pretend that something that exists in reality did not exist. There is a “noise-canceling function” that is now gaining popularity in audio products such as earphones and headphones, and you can easily think of it as a visual version of that function. Like SR, DR is a technology that has been gradually evolving through trial and error for about 10 years now.

DR is currently one of the technologies that many people have already encountered without realizing it, as it is often seen as a filter in apps such as Snapchat and TikTok used by customers in general.
There are various ways to cancel out the real thing, but in this case, machine learning technology is used to detect the “human” in the subject, and after canceling out the detected area, the surrounding colors are used to fill in the gaps. In this way, it is possible to create a virtual “disappearance” of a person.
This example can also be said to be an MR-like expression, as it involves the process of  detecting and understanding reality.


That’ s it for the SR/DR case studies.

After measuring and detecting reality, SR will replace it, and DR will make it disappear.  If you think about it, SR and DR can be said to be “different purpose” versions of MR. Will the number of MRs increase in the future? Keep your eyes peeled!

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