If you’ve thrown around words like ‘augmented reality’ and ‘virtual reality’, chances are that you probably don’t fully understand these terms. As technology advances, there has been a massive growth in augmented reality and virtual reality, along with which there has been some confusion as to what both of these entails.
In case it’s still unclear, AR and VR are not the same except in the sense that they both bring us a step closer to alternative realities. These two very different technologies are easy to differentiate as they serve different purposes.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is one of the most popular immersive technology that can completely shut out the rest of the world. VR devices such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard can trick the human senses into thinking it’s somewhere else.
The most essential part of virtual reality is the headset which is a specialised pair of goggles, which can be paired with optional- and expensive- VR technology like hand controllers and treadmills.
Virtual reality is more commonly used in the gaming and entertainment industries for providing a more realistic experience. But now, it has made its way into numerous other industries like education, business, and healthcare.
Virtual reality tools can train doctors in surgery, help individuals through phobias, act as a teaching aid for kids, and can even help you ride a dragon if that’s what you’d like. This is as close as it gets to living out a man-made reality.
What is Augmented Reality?
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality doesn’t replace your vision but rather adds elements to it and supplements your reality, often through your smartphone camera. The best-known example of augmented reality is Pokémon Go.
While augmented reality is most commonly used for improving the mobile gaming experience, retailers like IKEA have found innovative uses for this technology. Their AR application can help customers view how the furniture would look in their home before they decide to buy it.
Now that a large population of the world has access to a smartphone, individuals have easy access to AR. So there will soon be numerous innovations with augmented reality at its centre.
What is the difference between Augmented reality and Virtual reality?
Despite the common confusion between the two, AR and VR essentially serve different purposes and function in different ways. Virtual reality can replace your vision and transport you to a different environment, whereas augmented reality can add digital elements to your normal vision.
While AR users are still in touch with the real world and interacting with virtual elements, VR users are completely immersed in a virtual world and cut off from physical reality. As of now, virtual reality is a bit more closed off to the rest of the world due to expensive VR tools. Augmented reality, however, is easily available to anyone with a smartphone.
The most important feature that both of these powerful technologies have in common is that they can completely transform the way things work in multiple industries, as the technologies become more creative and affordable.
Years ago, the idea of living in a reality that doesn’t physically exist may have seemed impossible and maybe even a little bit ridiculous. But now, the thought of living in just one reality just seems dull.
As new and progressive technology comes to the market, the choice of a new reality is up to you. Whether it’s virtual or augmented, don’t hold yourself back; unleash your imagination and dive in for an experience to remember.