Two buzzwords in technology that have captured our imagination are Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Lately, both have garnered a lot of media attention and both have the potential to grow exponentially. Even though these concepts have been around for years, at least conceptually, but it has really taken off only in the last few years. Though both these terms have been used interchangeably, there is a lot of scientific difference between the two.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)? Virtual Reality is defined as “the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment.” Basically, it is a computer-generated simulation of real-life situation or environment. VR experience is realized by wearing VR viewer like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard (the most common and known VR viewers going around). By using the coding language known as Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), VR world is created.
VR headset helps in replacing the real world with the virtual world. It blocks you from the real world and immerses you in another world. The immersion is so real and dramatic, the viewer feels as if he/ she is actually climbing a staircase or riding a ride. Usually, VR is used for two purposes: • To enhance the gaming or entertainment experience by using imaginary reality • To enhance the real-life skills by creating a virtual training environment like flight simulators for pilots.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)? Augmented reality is defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to add digital information on an image of something.”
AR is anything that enhances our current state of presence using the help of digital objects. AR is rapidly becoming the go-to-technology for companies in their endeavor to provide realistic and holistic experiences to their customers. Nowadays, it is used to show score overlays on the top of telecasted games, 3D emails, photos or text messages on the phones. One of the standout examples is Samsung Monitorless AR glasses, which helps in connecting PCs or phones via WIFI, thus replacing the screen on those devices.
Differences Even though they both share the same goal of immersing the user but both use strikingly different ways to reach there. VR creates a world which is completely computer generated and driven whereas AR adds virtual components to elevate the experience. VR uses a headset or hand-held controllers to connect to a virtual world whereas AR is present in laptops, smartphones, tablets etc to see how real and virtual interact and intersect.
Conclusion AR has more real-world applications and is easier to integrate in our day-to-day world. But experts believe both technologies will continue to grow and expand and will keep redefining our perceptions and beliefs with regards to the virtual and real world.
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