One of the greatest misconceptions in the world of virtual reality is the distinction between augmented reality and virtual reality. Both are generating a considerable measure of media interest and have promising prospects for development. So what is the contrast between virtual reality and augmented reality? What similarities do they also share?
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is an alternate, computer produced simulation of real life situations and environments. It works by stimulating the visual and auditory senses and submerges the user in the environment. This causes the user to experience the situation first hand; like a real life situation.
Comparing Virtual reality with Augmented Reality
The VR state is mostly accomplished by wearing VR headsets like the FOVE, Oculus or HTC Vive; which are fitted with the capability to create VR situations and scenes. VR is utilized in two major ways:
It is used to simulate alternate realities for entertainment – gaming (for PC consoles and mobile devices), 3D movie viewing, VR theme parks and stage performances and head mounted displays.
VR is employed to train personnel for real life situations, in advance. This is applied by many companies in different fields like motor testing by automobile companies, combat simulations for military, modeling in architecture and construction, pilot training programs for pilots, medical and emergency procedures for doctors and nurses.
Virtual reality is based a programming language known as VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language). It produces a series of environments and images. It then specifies the possible types of interactions in these environments.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is an innovation that blends computer-produced modifications and enhancements into already existing reality. This improves functionality through the ability to interact with the computer-generated enhancements. AR is built into applications and utilized on cell phones to integrate digital components with situations in the real world. It is however done in such a way that they upgrade each other and can be distinguished effortlessly.
AR technology is gaining convention quickly. It is now used as a media means to display score overlays on broadcast sports games, 3D emails, photos and text messages; which pop out of your mobile device. Frontrunners in the tech industry are leaving no options unexplored. AR is now used to create motion-activated commands and create wondrous holographic content and functions.
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality are seemingly mirror images; in the services and functions, each gives the user. Virtual reality creates real life settings, while augmented reality integrates virtual elements into everyday real life settings.
How are Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Similar?
Augmented & Virtual realities share similar traits in their design and functions. One thing most common to both, however, is that they each create rich experiences for the user.
Both technologies permit experiences in entertainment never before possible, which now form the basis for present and future expectations. Seemingly impossible in the past, Virtual and Augmented Realities appeared fictional and out of reach for users.
These days, new artificial worlds can be quickly brought to life under user control. This ensures the possibility of more and endless layers of interactions with the real world. Prominent tech giants are investing more into research and developing newer methods and improvements. This subsequently ensures the release of more apps, services, and products that support these innovations for the general public or tech lovers. Game lovers and thrill seekers are the most beneficial when it comes to entertainment. Virtual games now abound, and 3D movies have gained global acceptance.
3. Science and Medicine
With the advent of Virtual and augmented substances, there has been increased potential in the medical fields. Remote surgeries which could not even be dreamt of are within reach; increasing lifesaving chances. These technologies are now employed in treating psychological conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Education is another field which has adopted VR and AR for learning and teaching. They give the advantage of enabling interaction of large groups of students with three-dimensional environments.
Virtual and artificial realities can present complex information in ways that are accessible to students. Students can safely interact with objects in the environment, to gain more information about them and discover more. This makes learning easy and fun.
How do Augmented & Virtual Realities Differ?
Here, we take a look at the main reason and purpose of both as a means of ascertaining their differences. Augmented reality adds new layers of interaction and virtual components such as graphics, digital images, and sensations to the real world. This serves to enhance user experiences. In what seems to be a contrast, virtual reality furnishes a new and different reality which is computer created and driven.
2. Delivery Method
They also differ in the way they are brought to us. Virtual Reality is delivered through the use of accessories and gears such as head-mounted and hand-held devices which function as controllers. These devices serve as a medium and bridge which connects users to the VR world. It allows users to control their actions and navigate through environments that simulate the real world.
Augmented reality is more often used in the development of mobile devices such as tablets, smart TV’s, smart watches, notebooks and laptops, smartphones. AR changes how the digital components – images and graphics, relate and interact with the real world.
How do they integrate or serve each other?
Sometimes it’s not a matter of comparison between virtual reality and augmented reality – they don't always operate independently and can be made to serve one another or integrated. VR and AR are often integrated to generate more interesting and fantastic experiences. A classic example is a haptic feedback; the vibration and sensation added to the interaction with graphics, is considered to be an augmentation. However, through touch, it is also used in virtual reality situations to make more lifelike experiences.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are virtual examples of interactions fueled by our desires to be submerged in alternate worlds for entertainment. Both add new dimensions of interaction to the user and serve as bridges between digital devices and the real world. Whether they are used as stand-alone or integrated, they are unquestionably opening up possibilities to new worlds – real and virtual.
It can be said that they complement each other though they appear to function differently. Giant strides have been made possible in all spheres of science, as a result of the applications of Virtual and Augmented Realities.
With the advent of these, it is hard to imagine our world without them.