Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality – What's the Difference?

maaz uddin

Published on 21 Jun.

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    As today’s technology is continuing to evolve, the advancements in it have amazed human’s eye, and it has become difficult to predict what’s coming forth. Today in the modern world the discussions and innovations of virtual and augmented reality are on the rise. The new 3D applications and tools are integrating augmented and virtual reality, and it seems the adaptability in the daily lives will become a norm in future. But what is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and what’s the difference between them? This blog will help you to figure out!

    Augmented Reality
    The term “Augmented Reality” was coined by a Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell in 1990. The word Augment means ‘to enhance something’ and augmented reality relates to the addition of digital environment in our natural world to create a realistic user experience. It overlays new information by computer-generated objects while keeping you in the actual place. The father of computer graphics Ivan Sutherland developed the first AR technology – an AR head-mounted digital system in 1968. Since then this technology drastically evolves and makes its way in Healthcare, Gaming, Educational and even Sports sector. The latest advancement includes Microsoft HoloLens Developer and the Meta 2 Developer Kit which allows you to touch and pull photorealistic content.
    In the early 2000 AR technology was highly used to engage customers in public places and it also helped people in decision making by putting their imagination to life. A great example is of Skoda which hosts an augmented reality experience in a car campaign by letting people customize the car and see themselves driving which eases their decision of buying a car. Similarly, AR has also enhanced the shopping experience by allowing people to try a product before purchasing. Also, the development of AR technology in the medical sector is helping students to practice surgery in a controlled environment. Researchers are trying to combine this technology with MRI to improve surgical methods.
    With the more advancements in augmented reality wearables and internet of things are giving consumers the hopes for extended creative visualization and customized solutions to advance digital experience.  
    Virtual Reality
    You dream of a world tour, but it seems impossible for you, so how about the idea of a virtual tour? Yes, it’s possible with virtual reality by wearing a headset and feeling the things in real. The term virtual means ‘near enough’ so virtual reality stands for ‘near enough to reality.’ It means drawing our imaginary world in real by using sensory equipment which gives real emulations. The word ‘virtual reality’ came into existence when the founder of VPL research Jaron Lanier started developing goggles and gloves to innovate virtual experience.     
    The first stereoscope was invented in 1838 which uses mirrors to project a single image. Later, it evolved into the View-Master, patented in 1939. One significant achievement in the timeline of VR was Sensorama in 1956 which provided an illusion of reality by experiencing the graphics, sounds, and vibrations in real. Gradually, the advancements continue to rise and, the 1970s and 1980s became a leading time in VR history. The smartest development in VR up till now is Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset which was developed in 2016. It can take you to the virtual world by giving real-time interaction and leave with a credible experience afterward.
    Now, amazingly VR is widely used in Medicine, Entertainment, Arts, and Architecture and is expected to expedite with greater advancements.
    Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality – What’s the Difference?
    Technology no doubt has changed our perception, but every innovation in tech has its applications and advantages.
    People are still skeptical of the ideation of augmented and virtual reality and think they both are same, but this isn’t true.  There’s are some facets of both technologies that make them different.
    Augmented reality is an upgraded version of reality which creates digital objects to intensify user experience whereas virtual reality creates the complete virtual world which doesn’t exist in real like an animated scene.
    AR apps integrate into your smartphone and tablets to put your fascination to the real world. It then put the information layer, including images, text, and objects on that view. An example is PokemanGO which is an augmented reality game which let you search for small virtual creatures with smartphones.
    Or if you have tried Snapchat filters you may have got the idea of how it places objects on your head – this is how AR is flowing in consumers’ hands.
    VR innovations aren’t limited to entertainment sector only. It also helps to search for complex problems, reasoning, and methods. With Oculus Rift you can view virtual reality and discover places you have never been.  
    How does it work?
    The AR technology work on three approaches that are Simultaneous Location and Mapping which maps the structure of the environment and localize surrounding according to the area. Second is recognition approach that uses a camera to recognize visual objects or markers, and the third is location-based which uses GPS and digital compass on smartphones.
    The VR technology creates an immersive 3D environment by creating visuals on the screen. When we wear the headset two autofocus are placed between the filter and the lens that adjust according to our eye movement.
    The Challenges
    AR and VR have stepped the tech world around 30 years back, but due to its challenges, they haven’t held a massive space in the commercial world till present. The battery life of the wearables and computing power are still on a small scale, and lack of compelling content is another biggest technical challenge. The cost boundness and limitations of hardware need attention as well.
    The Future
    AR vs VR doesn’t always fit independently, the two technologies might differ in some aspects, but if blended they can create a deeply engaging experience for the consumers. The growth can be bewildering for the users.
    Let’s wait and see how these technologies will transform our journey to real.

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