Race and ethnicity, envy and jealousy, serial killer and mass murderer, disease and illness, augmented reality and virtual reality…
What would be the common thing between these lists of words?
Well, they’re the most frequently confused ones. But, we’re solving one confusion today between augmented reality and virtual reality.
Augmented reality, AR, and virtual reality, VR, are two confusing terms because they actually have many concepts in common, but also differ in one way or another. Both terminologies are known for offering enriched experiences bringing together a virtual world with the real one.
That’s why AR and VR have this exciting potential in shaping the future of gaming, marketing, e-commerce, education, and so many more other fields. In fact, we’re already witnessing companies and developers adopting AR or VR or both in advertisement voice overs, educational training, remote assistance, exercising, remote diagnosis of patients, gaming, and entertainment.
The two concepts seem so tempting to immediately get your hands on, however, you might still be unsure of which one to pursue. So, for this blog we’re providing you a side-by-side comparison of the operation, benefits, and challenges of augmented reality and virtual reality to help you choose your better scenarios as a developer or a company.
What Is AR?
Augmented reality is closer to you than you thought it is. You and almost any person with a smartphone can get access to augmented reality features. AR morphs the mundane, monotonous physical world into a colorful, interactive one by projecting virtual pictures and characters through a phone’s camera or video viewer.
Augmented reality is then as its name indicates, merely augmenting or adding on to the user’s real-life experience. In the augmented reality world, the user’s physical environment is enhanced with relevant digital content in real-time. Which explains what we mentioned earlier about augmented reality accompanying every smartphone or with special hardware.
For that, AR uses camera vision and mapping, as well as depth tracking to visually display specific content to the user. This operation allows computers and cameras to collect, send, and process data, then show digital content appropriate to what any user is looking at.
Now that you can relate to augmented reality, let’s dive into its pros. AR allows individualized learning, fosters the learning process, increases user knowledge and information, improves tasks accuracy, innovates every possible function, shares experiences over long distances, and makes each of these experiences feel more “real”.
We know, we promised to dive in but, on one hand, all of these benefits were just the tip of the iceberg. On the other hand, AR imposes its challenges like the expensive research and technology development, high implementation and maintenance cost, lack of security and privacy terms, and physical and mental health effects…
What Is VR?
See all of these AR concepts? Virtual reality adopts the same concepts and levels them up producing an entirely computer-generated simulation of an alternative world. Such immersive simulations can create almost any visual, environment, location, and details, using special equipment such as computers, sensors, speakers, headsets, goggles, wearables, and gloves.
VR focuses on simulating the vision, so equipment are absolutely necessary to isolate the view of and the interaction with the real perceived life and live inside the virtual one. Once inside this new world, you can also employ visual, auditory, and haptic stimulations to an immersive extent.
To understand how VR operates, let’s take the famous example of the VR goggle. Inside there are two lenses and a display screen providing separate images for each eye. The visuals on the screen can be altered by using an HDMI cable connected to a computer or mobile phone. Gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, and structured light systems also play a role in this. The user then needs to adjust their eyes based on the individual movement of the eye and its positioning.
You can already see how far VR is going, but we’ll add a few pros to your list. VR creates interactive environments for immersive learning, experimenting, and increasing work capabilities. This escapism into a virtual environment is in itself the major drawback of VR because, simply, training in a virtual world doesn’t guarantee excelling in this one, nor living in a problem-free world will solve the ones in ours.
Which One Is For You?
You would be expecting a one word answer to this question, but it’s wrong to convey that AR and VR are intended to operate separately. The two are often blended together to generate a new dimension and improve the engaging experience. When these technologies are merged together, they have the power to transport the user to the fictitious interactive world.
But, if we must exclude them, AR applications are mostly being developed to embed text, images, and videos. So, printing and advertising are the leading industries using such AR technology applications to display digital content. AR technology is also becoming crucial for the development of translation and language interpretation applications. And let’s not forget the gaming industry which, with the help of the AR 3D tools, is developing real-time 3D Games.
VR technology is more frequently used to build and enhance a fictional reality for the gaming world so it simulates military flights and battlefields. VR is also used in training as a digital training device for sports or medical performances and techniques. Through VR devices like Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift, you can be transported to the race track, green field, or court.
“The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”Mark Zukerberg
So, maybe both AR and VR deserve your focus after all.