Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

People have been seeking to improve their real world for millennia. Books, paintings, poems, games, movies, and television shows all give us a way to add something magical to our daily lives. Technology is making it possible for everyday people to change the reality of what they see, and interact with entertainment in ways that were never possible in the past.

Maybe you’ve seen the posts about the new virtual reality headset created by Playstation. Maybe your friends can’t stop playing the widely popular Pokemon Go, a popular augmented reality game. With all the new technologies coming out lately, you may be confused on what they achieve for the user. This primer will help you understand the similarities and differences between augmented reality and virtual reality.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is technology that you wear over your eyes that tricks your brain into seeing in three-dimensional space whatever the computer, smartphone, or gaming system is broadcasting. The experience that it immerses you in is a complete new reality, like flying among the stars or visiting the Louvre. Virtual reality is used for entertainment, education, and more, but it is always a complete change of your environment.

Virtual reality

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is technology that allows you to see additional things in the real world that aren’t actually there. Take for instance the popular free game, Pokemon Go. The game shows the your current physical surroundings, but augments it with digital content. In the game, a Pokemon character will show up that you can see against the backdrop of whatever your camera lens is pointed and you try to capture the Pokemon.

Augmented reality

This technology allows you to see the real world reflected in the game. And in order to interact with the game, you need to move around. There are apps that use augmented reality, and there are also some headsets that can also project these items into the real world.

The applications of augmented reality vary and include entertainment, construction and else where it would be helpful to see something added into the real environment.

Similarities between VR & AR

The main similarity that is shared virtual reality and augmented reality is changing the way that you see the world. In both cases, you are shown things that aren’t there but that your brain believes to exist.

They both require some type of technology to deliver the experience. Both of these technologies require a person to use a visual interface that allows changes how they see.

They both share applications such as entertainment, gaming, education, travel, etc.

Differences between VR & AR

One of the main differences between virtual and augmented reality is the way that you view the world. Virtual reality completely replaces the world that exists around you with a virtual one. This technology can let you see the most distant or outlandish environments without leaving home. But, you cannot see home and virtual reality together.

With augmented reality, this technology changes the current environment that you are in but doesn’t completely replace it. The real world is vital to your experience and you must be able to interact with it.

Another difference is that virtual reality is something that needs to be handled in one space, as you’re either wearing a headset that blocks the real world or you are tethered to a system. Augmented reality allows you to explore your current surroundings with additional things to look at provided by the augmentation.

Some argue that because augmented reality only requires a smartphone or tablet to create the experience in comparison to what is needed for virtual reality, there’s a chance that this technology may be adopted at a higher rate.

Both virtual and augmented reality use technology to change your perception of your environment. The difference is whether you completely leave the real world or use it as the backdrop of your experience.

Wrapping it up

Now that you know the difference between these technologies, you can start enjoying what they have to offer. These technologies are great for entertainment, but they are also good for education, training, construction and more. As time moves forward and technologies continue to advance, the opportunities become endless.

Author: Becky DeForest

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