Augmented Reality, or AR, and Virtual Reality, or VR, are related technologies that are both developing and having their potential recognised. There are definite similarities between them which causes some people to believe they are the same thing, but there are distinct differences too.
Immersive Experiences for All Users
Whether you are using AR or VR, the point is to create a truly engaging and interactive experience for you. This is done using various pieces of technology, including smartphones and wearable headsets. You’re transported to a different type of reality, whether Augmented or Real, and the range of applications for this is as wide as you might already be imagining.
Creating different environments can be used for teaching different ideas to students, training military officers for combat and difficult situations, helping people work through psychological issues or difficult situations, or allowing surgeons to practice difficult operations. The gaming world has already seen incredible VR and AR entertainments, and other leisure activities are sure to follow. Imagine playing a real-life Blackjack game, or exploring any destination in the world, from your living room!
Simulation Versus Layers
Both AR and VR alter the immediate reality that their users are experiencing, and the full potential of both technologies is still nowhere near to being realised. The difference between the 2 comes down to how they effect changes in users’ realities. In essence, you might say that Virtual Reality simulates, while Augmented Reality layers.
The clue to the differences in Virtual and Augmented Reality lies in their names. Virtual Reality creates a whole new world for the user; it departs from real-world reality completely and simulates something entirely new. Headwear such as glasses and earphones is used to completely change what you hear and see when you’re connected to a VR device.
In comparison to VR, AR is layered on top of what users are already seeing. Rather than completely changing the environment, it augments or even enhances what is already there. Wearables such as glasses work well for this, as do smartphone screens. Pokémon Go is a good example of AR; the creatures are superimposed onto a real scene when players view it through their smartphones.
Army cadets might use VR to practice using a new weapon, and AR to learn about new weapons by holding them up to the camera of their smartphones so that relevant information appears. While AR and VR are both incredibly useful, in a way they couldn’t be more different. Virtual Reality removes you from whatever your actual environment is, while Augmented Reality allows you to blend with it more seamlessly than ever before.