Understanding Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

The boundary between the virtual and real worlds continues to break down, enabling people to visualize breathtaking experiences that could previously be found only in the imagination of sci-fi writers.

For several years, virtual reality (VR) has been the ‘next big thing”, but finally, it’s time to create realistic images, sound effects, and other sensory experiences that immerse you in a breathtaking imaginary world.

Augmented Reality (AR), which incorporates virtual elements into your real-world surroundings, is also contributing to the buzz, and both of these technologies are likely to play a significant role in our future.

Since so much is happening so fast, the distinction between VR and AR may seem confusing at first. So we’ve come to your rescue, introducing you to the basics of AR and VR.

What is VR?

The Matrix, a very famous 1999 film depicting a deceptively realistic VR future that was so distinct from ordinary life, has greatly influenced most people’s perception of virtual reality (VR).

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated representation of some other world or reality that is commonly used in 3D movies and video games. Using computers and sensory devices such as headsets and gloves, virtual reality produces simulations that are intended to shut out the actual world and indulge the viewer in a virtual world.

Today’s VR may make people feel like they’re traveling through a forest or executing an industrial operation, but it usually always requires specific equipment to experience it, such as bulky headsets, which is often found in games or to get movie-like experiences.

If you’ve ever been to a VR film festival, you may know that it frequently takes a lot of time, effort, and assistance from the organizers before you can get such an immersive experience, and it can be difficult to forget you’re wearing an enormous headset over your face.

Virtual reality has long been utilised in training, education, and sciences, in addition to gaming and entertainment.

Real-Life Applications of Virtual Reality

When you hear the phrase virtual reality, what is the first most relatable thing that comes to mind? It’s most likely gaming. The gaming industry has already adopted this technology; for example, you can connect the PlayStation VR headset to a PlayStation console and experience virtual reality.

However, gaming isn’t the sole application for virtual reality technology. Take a look at some of the most significant VR applications:

Education

VR learning has the potential to change education by making learning more interactive and interesting. Besides schools and colleges, virtual experiences may also be used to train employees in businesses.

Unimersiv already provides virtual reality instructional resources to companies and universities.

Real Estate

For decades, real estate agents have utilised photographs to advertise houses. Agents can now employ virtual reality for this purpose. Unlike pictures, VR is immersive, allowing prospective buyers to take a three-dimensional walk-through and better understand what each property has to offer before paying a visit in person.

Matterport is already utilising 360-degree video demonstrations to help agents connect with their clients more effectively.

Healthcare

Virtual reality is capable of providing an in-depth view into human anatomy, enabling physicians to better understand the requirements of their patients. VR technology is very useful for surgical training also.

Medical Realities is a platform that utilises 360-degree videos and virtual anatomy to train the future surgeons.

Travel

The travel industry has always been willing to adapt to new technology. Virtual tours can assist travel companies in promoting places and attracting travellers. VR is also an excellent tool for those who have difficulty going around to explore the world.

The finest illustration of how VR technology may be used in the travel business is Google StreetView. Though panoramic photos may be seen on a computer, users can also activate Google Cardboard mode for a virtual reality experience.

What is AR?

Augmented reality (AR) may be regarded as the cousin of virtual reality (VR). It makes no attempt to create a virtual world for the user. Unlike VR, AR is accessed through much more common equipment such as mobile phones.

It tries to superimpose images such as characters on top of video or a camera viewer, both of which most people already have, making it much more accessible for retail, games, and movies.

In Augmented reality, the physical environment is combined with computer-generated virtual components. These components are then projected over physical surfaces in reality within people’s range of vision. This process is done with an intent of integrating the two components- the physical world and virtual elements to complement one another.

Augmented reality uses a device such as a smartphone screen or a headset to integrate virtual components with the actual environment. Unlike virtual reality, that essentially replaces what an individual views and experiences, augmented reality enhances it.

VR, which uses devices such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard, completely replaces users’ field of vision, whereas AR projects information in front of the user in a given frame.

Applications of Augmented Reality

Now that you understand what augmented reality is and how it works, try to guess which sectors this technology may be utilised in. And, no, gaming does not suffice. Though Pokemon Go was a significant advancement in smartphone AR gaming, augmented reality technology has much more to offer.

In fact, augmented reality is beneficial in a wide range of fields, from advertising to medicine. Let’s have a look at some of the applications for augmented reality technology.

Manufacturing

In the manufacturing business, new technologies can provide a competitive edge. Augmented reality assists businesses in increasing productivity and quality. How? AR devices can help industrial employees minimize human error, save time, and enhance efficiency.

Upskill, for example, provides an augmented reality platform for industrial applications. Some of the world’s largest businesses, like General Electric and Boeing, are already using augmented reality into their production processes.

Retail

Large number of people prefer to make purchases online. Online shopping is easy, time-saving, and cost-effective. But what if an item does not meet the buyer’s expectations when it arrives? AR applications are an excellent answer to this problem since they allow users to virtually see or even try on items purchased online.

Try IKEA Place for augmented reality in online shopping. This augmented reality software for iOS allows users to see if a piece of furniture from IKEA’s catalogue would fit in their home.

Navigation

Navigation is a fantastic application for augmented reality. Virtual items that overlay the actual environment can provide directions and direct people to the right path. Many businesses utilise augmented reality to attract customers towards their shops.
For example, Yelp offers a Monocle option that displays you the closest cafés and eateries.

Advertising

Augmented reality enables marketers and advertisers to reach out to their targeted customers in a more efficient manner. Unlike traditional advertisements, AR advertisements are interactive and engaging, so they not only drive sales but also raise brand recognition.

What’s The Difference Between AR and VR ?

The primary differences between VR and AR are related to the equipment required and the experience itself. Although most of them have been described above, here is a jinx of it all:

  • AR utilizes a real-world context, whereas VR is entirely virtual.
  • AR users have control over their physical presence in the actual world, whereas VR users are controlled by the device.
  • While VR requires a headgear device, AR may be accessed with a smartphone.
  • AR improves both the virtual and real worlds, whereas VR simply enhances a fictitious reality.

Conclusion

Since the past few years, smartphones combined with headsets have been the most popular way of providing a VR experience. This has been the simplest method for people to get started with VR. The virtual reality sector is far more developed than the present augmented reality sector.

Although augmented reality technology is less developed than virtual reality owing to its limitations, lack of standardization, and higher cost, it is already being used in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics.

Augmented reality experiences are generally offered via headsets such as Meta, Vuzix, and HoloLens, and early indications indicate that the technology is destined to change commercial and industrial businesses.

With the introduction of more advanced systems like the Oculus Rift, along with 360-degree cameras, virtual reality experiences are rapidly trying to find new ways into our lives.

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