You know what virtual reality is, and you know what augmented reality is. But what could mixed reality be? And why do mixed reality and fitness go hand in hand? First things first. If augmented reality overlays content on the real world, mixed reality anchors that content to real world objects. It is because of that physical world connection that could make the technology a boon to fitness applications. Thanks to upcoming products like ODG’s new smartglasses, mixed reality could just become more accessible.

ODG’s R8 and R9 Smartglasses

Chances are, you have heard about Microsoft’s HoloLens. It promises to “blend the digital world with the real world” by letting its users interact with holograms. While the prospect of being able to control the world around you with a matter of hand gestures is appealing, the development edition of the HoloLens costs $3,000. Enter the R8 and R9 VR/AR headsets. They’re powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and developed by ODG. Unlike the HoloLens, however, ODG’s smartglasses comes with a reduced price tag. The R8 is $1,000 while the R9 will set you back $1,800.

Both the R8 and the R9 feature built-in cameras, Bluetooth capabilities, Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS, 6DoF tracking, and directional microphones. As is the case with most non-VR headsets, field of view is restricted by the size of the screen—in this case, the two lenses in front of your eyes. While not as immersive as a full-on VR headset, the sacrifice is made up by the added safety. While wearing smartglasses, a user is still able to see where they are in physical space. Instead of gestures, control is achieved with buttons and a touchpad built into the frame of the glasses themselves.

What Could ‘Mixed Reality’ Fitness Mean?

Everysight explores the benefits of displaying the information we need to get the most out of cycling. This is a prime example of a workout enhanced by augmented reality. But how could we take advantage of mixed reality, which is dependent on our surroundings and where we are in the real world? If the focus is on making our workouts better and more efficient, then there are several ways.

If a mixed reality fitness application could recognize weights or machines in the gym, imagine if we could ‘click’ on those items and be shown a list of exercises that could be done with them, complete with videos with proper form. In a sphere where too much ambition and not enough knowledge could turn into a serious injury, being able to make sure your form is correct could save you weeks of recovery time. This feature could be useful for fitness beginners who might not have a trainer or a split all planned out.

Like Everysight, data is important in the gym, but it might not be something we need to look at the entire time we are lifting. Imagine being able to stand a holographic dummy of yourself nearby that would display which muscle groups you’ve worked on that day. Not far from the dummy is a list of the exercises you’ve performed, with sets and reps written out, and even a rest timer counting down.

On top of that, these features could be combined with an augmented reality layout that displayed important biometrics in front of our eyes.

Mixed reality gives the virtual world weight in the one we live in, and what that could mean for VR fitness is something only time can tell.