Although VR has become somewhat of a household name due to the media coverage it gets, there are many other types of technology that are left out of the mainstream conversation. When it comes to different levels of virtual immersion, common people don’t distinguish between Augmented and Virtual reality because they seem to be interchangeable terms. That’s why it is our goal to help you figure out what’s the difference between VR and AR and how they’re implemented in real life.
- Virtual Reality (VR) creates an artificial, immersive environment and replaces the real world with a fully immersive experience.
- Augmented Reality (AR) enhances an existing environment with virtual elements and adds virtual information to the real world.
- VR requires specialized equipment like headsets or gloves, while AR can be easily experienced on common devices like smartphones.
- VR allows the practice of potentially dangerous tasks without risk, while AR improves efficiency, reduces costs, and creates new business opportunities.
What is Virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a technology that creates an artificial, immersive environment that a person can explore with devices like headsets, headphones, or VR glasses.
Through computer vision and advanced graphics, it converts 2D images into 3D images and videos, allowing users to interact with virtual objects and other elements.
This creates the illusion of being in a life-size, 3D digital world, making users feel they’re a part of it.
VR technology also accurately scales distances between images to make the experience more realistic.
What is Augmented reality?
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality combines the digital and physical worlds to create an artificial environment that enhances an existing environment. It allows virtual elements to interact with the real world and generate intended meanings.
AR systems generate 3D objects and environments in real time based on their geometric relationships. Usually, no special equipment is needed to create an AR experience; it can be generated by common devices such as smartphones.
AR adds virtual content to the physical world, while VR replaces physical reality with a simulated one.
What’s the difference between AR and VR?
While both AR and VR are designed to provide a 3D simulated experience, they have distinct purposes. VR replaces the real world with a fully immersive experience, while AR adds virtual information to the environment. Special equipment like a headset or gloves is needed to access VR, whereas AR is easily experienced on a phone.
VR completely blocks out the real world, whereas AR allows users to experience both 2D and 3D environments at the same time.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality
VR has various advantages, such as allowing people to practice potentially dangerous tasks without risk, as well as providing more convenient remote learning experiences.
It is important to note that training in a VR environment does not guarantee the same success as in the real world, and the cost of VR systems is still too high to make it widely accessible.
Another drawback of VR is the cost of the systems and the health issues like dizziness and nausea associated with it. Additionally, long-term use may lead to escapism, making users prefer the virtual world over the real one.
Pros and cons of Augmented reality
AR can improve efficiency, reduce costs, facilitate learning, and create new business opportunities. AR systems aren’t as affected by device limitations, which results in more freedom for smartphone users and more opportunities for AR developers and marketers. Users simply need to point their camera at an object, and the AR app will show what it does with that particular item.
However, there are security and privacy concerns, low adoption, and costly development and maintenance. Lack of application in day-to-day use remains, and current limitations of 3D systems that produce and support 3D visualizations, especially in real-time, slow down the spread of AR technology. Additionally, excessive engagement can lead to serious health hazards such as eye problems, obesity, and mental health issues.
Use cases of VR
Entertainment is one of the most popular uses of VR applications. Video games, virtual music concerts, and travel simulations are some of the possibilities available.
VR technology offers high-definition, 3D interactive imaging, making it useful for digital marketing and advertising. It can also be used for remote collaboration, brainstorming, and testing ideas. Additionally, engineers and designers can use it to experiment with vehicle designs without expensive prototypes.
Another use case of VR is in sports simulations, which allow athletes to measure and analyze their performance without putting them in any danger.
Use cases of AR
AR can also be used in a variety of industries to improve customer experiences and provide helpful data. AR applications can be used to improve customer experiences by presenting 3D models of products, giving directions, and even suggesting hotels and menus.
AR technology can also boost remote design, allowing users to view furniture from home and select items to match their space or get a better idea of how a sofa will fit into their house.
It can also provide data on speed and assist in advanced navigation. For drivers, AR can be used to mark objects in real time and help find the most efficient route.
What is Mixed reality?
Mixed reality (MR or XR) is a combination of both VR and AR technology. It allows the physical world to interact with the virtual world. Headsets, glasses, and screens are used to overlay virtual objects onto the physical environment. These objects can respond to the real world, as well as to each other, providing more engaging interactions.
This enables users to scan their surroundings and the virtual environment to reflect physical objects.
What’s the future for VR and AR?
Outward-facing cameras and environment-scanning technology will only get better with time, so with a headset on, you’ll have a clearer view of your surroundings – effectively making every VR headset a mixed-reality headset as well.
Processing requirements and display technology will continue to improve, making AR and VR more accessible and cost-efficient.
As headsets become smaller, more powerful, and more affordable, we can expect to see more mixed-reality headsets on the market. This is already happening with Meta Quest 3, which is already fighting for the top spot on the best headset list.
Even dedicated AR displays could become a reality in the near future, allowing for a clear distinction between virtual and augmented reality.
The difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is vast yet interconnected. VR provides an immersive experience, while AR adds a layer of reality to our existing one.
All the mentioned applications of these technologies illustrate how they’re changing the way we interact with each other and with the world in the near future. Although both VR and AR propose endless possibilities for personal and professional improvements, it’s important to keep in mind that their impact on society will only matter at scale when they become more accessible, which is yet to be achieved.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Hardware Is Necessary to Use Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
To experience both virtual and augmented reality, you’ll need a device such as a headset or smartphone.
Are There Any Safety Concerns With Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
Yes, it’s important to follow instructions, take breaks, and be aware of your surroundings. Eye strain, motion sickness, and fatigue can occur
What Are the Costs Associated With Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
The costs depend on the hardware and software used, as well as the complexity of the immersive environment. You may need to factor in training and maintenance costs, too.
How Can Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Be Used in the Classroom?
Students can explore different environments, learn about new topics, and gain real-world experiences without ever leaving the classroom.
Are There Any Ethical Considerations When Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
Privacy concerns and the potential for misuse are a deal-breaker. To ensure ethical usage, safety protocols must be followed.