How is Augmented Reality Different from Virtual Reality
General Technology

How is Augmented Reality Different from Virtual Reality

By Mainak Biswas February 03, 2017 - 3,450 views

Augmented reality has received a lot of attention in recent years. Yet, a lot of people are not sure how different it is from virtual reality, a technology that is closely related. While media attention has been given to both these technologies, many people erroneously use these terms interchangeably. In this article, let us take look at how these two groundbreaking technologies are different from each other.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a situation or environment where a person experiences simulated reality thanks to visual and auditory stimuli. This simulation takes place with the help of computer-enabled technologies. Virtual reality creates a simulated environment where the user feels like they are experiencing the simulated environment truly. Many headsets that are currently used by people to enjoy entertainment make use of this technology. Gaming, movie and entertainment industries, professional simulators for pilots and other situations make use of virtual reality,. Virtual reality usually uses Virtual reality Modeling Language (VRML) in order to create images and specify the kind of interactions that could be made possible when viewing them.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality, on the other hand, superimposes computer-generated enhancements over a reality that actually exists. Mobile technologies, app development, and even certain games make use of AR, in which the real-world is inter-weaved with digital components. Augmented reality is being used in a. number of domains, and not only in the gaming arena. If you have ever seen a youth waving hands furiously in front of a screen at a mall, he is probably playing a game that comes with some AR-ability.

The main difference between VR and AR is that virtual reality provides a simulated version of a reality that doesn’t quite exist, whereas, augmented reality creates a situation where computer-enhanced situations superimpose over an existing reality.

Virtual reality and augmented reality have some similarities

Both virtual reality and augmented reality have some similarities. This is probably why people confuse between the two terms and use them interchangeably. if you know the similarities between the two, you will later be able to tell them apart.

  • Both AR and VR use computer-enabled technologies to create an altered environment for the user.
  • They are both used extensively in entertainment especially the gaming and movie industries.
  • Both AR and VR are finding their place in health care and medicine. Surgeons are known to use virtual reality to practice their skills, while augmented reality finds its use in actual medical settings.
  • Both technologies are used by psychologists to enhance in-vitro behaviour therapies.

What are the differences then?

If you would like to know the differences between AR and VR, things can get a little dicey.

  • Augmented reality enhances an existing reality by adding images, sensations and sounds. Virtual reality creates a situation where images and sounds can feel real, though they do not exist.
  • Virtual reality is usually delivered through a head-mounted or hand-held controller. Augmented reality can be used in a variety of situations and a specific tool may not be required. If your apps jiggle on your iPhone while trying to delete them, that is a form of augmented reality.

Is it possible for them to exist together? Mixed Reality.

Many times, augmented reality works in conjunction with virtual reality. This is especially true in video games, where the aforementioned young man probably felt that he really was being shaken by a. demon on the screen, thanks to haptic feedback.

When virtual reality and augmented reality work together, it is known as mixed reality (MR). Mixed reality is an effort where the best of AR and VR are spun together so that the user is not only experiencing the real world in an enhanced state but is also experiencing something that probably doesn’t exist. Mixed reality is going to get a lot more popular in the future because of its applications in gaming, movies, entertainment and also events. However, if we are discussing medicine and health, AR and VR will remain operate and distinct.

Now let us take a look at some of the non-traditional situations in which VR can be used:

  1. Live communication

VR can be used during meetings and conferences, where the simulation of a board room can be created. A conference room can be simulated and participants can feel like they are in an actual meeting. This helps to psychologically tune the participants to be more attentive, and pay attention to what is being said during the conference or meeting, instead of getting distracted, which is possible during virtual conversations and meetings.

  1. Sales exhibitions

There is no place better than a trade show to experience the goodness of virtual reality. If your company is trying to exhibit product A, you can quickly use VR to simulate an environment where visitors to the exhibition can ‘experience’ your product. In other words, sales demos become more life-like and helps in immersing clients in a simulated reality.

  1. Product testing

Virtual reality also helps in testing products, even in the most adverse conditions. Thanks to virtual reality, companies and manufacturers can Crete impossible situations or difficult-to-test situations and ensure that the product doesn’t malfunction.

A few of the non-traditional situations where augmented reality can be used are:

Augmented reality works very well on mobile apps. Thus, it can be used in design and retail, marketing, and B2B sales. For instance, customers can try their glasses on, using their own image. The app helps them to try glasses or clothes on an image that resembles them. Augmented reality can also be used to create interactive billboards, displays and immersive branding experiences.

There’s no race between AR and VR

By looking at these examples and the similarities and differences between AR and VR, it becomes clear that they are not going to outpace one another. They may be similar in some respects but they both have their uses and utilities. While they can exist separately, they can also exist in conjunction with each other, a technology which is known as Mixed Reality (MR).

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