Virtual reality is a real-life environment is recreated in digital form; whereas, augmented reality incorporates virtual elements into the physical environment as an overlay.
While both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are driving technological innovations, they are different concepts altogether. VR is technically an artificial, computer-generated environment that a user experiences through vision and hearing. In contrast, AR is an artificial reality created and projected to the physical world by mobile applications.
The core difference between VR and AR is that VR is created by wearing headsets and applied in two major ways:
- For instance, Facebook’s Oculus is applied to create and enhance the imaginary environment for games in entertainment media such as 3D movies and computer games.
- In enhancing training and familiarization of real-life environments through creating simulations in which people can do virtual practice, such as fire simulators for firefighters.
On the other hand, AR stems from mobile apps on smartphones that generate a virtual environment and project it into the physical world, where it makes work easier as in holograms and issuing motion commands in AR interfaces such as the Nintendo Wii video game.
In reality, virtual reality and augmented reality are converse reflections of each other. With virtual reality, a real-life environment is recreated in digital form; whereas, augmented reality incorporates virtual elements into the physical environment as an overlay.
The Purpose of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is designed to enhance user experiences in the physical world by the use of virtual components like digital graphics and sensations. These components provide a new layer of interaction. On the contrary, virtual reality generates a virtual reality bound to the digital environment that is computer driven.
Delivery of Augmented and Virtual Reality
Virtual reality applications provide the user with a head-mounted or a hand-held interface. The hand-held or head-mounted control allows for the control and navigation in the simulated environment where a user can execute specific actions such as firing a gun, shooting a ball or entering a room.
In contrast, augmented reality is based on digital applications running on computers and mobile devices to help a deeper intersection and interaction of the physical world with digital components such as videos and images.
Differences in Application
In real life, virtual reality is used to enhance vision and works to empower what the eyes can see. Your vision is replaced by a hand-held or head-mounted control to immerse you in a virtual reality. Here, your movements in the physical world merge with the virtual reality in which images and video seem to move with you as you interact with it.
In gaming and storytelling, the real world and the virtual environment seem to be on the same plane but do not cover the entire field of view. At the edge of a display, for instance, you can perceive the illusion that the virtual world stretches into the physical world.
As for augmented reality, the physical world appears as it is only with additional virtual components that you can identify without confusion or the illusion of their being part of the real world. For instance, a map marker available on a camera interface through a mobile device can point you in the direction you are headed in to enhance your navigation experience.
In advanced applications of AR, you can interact with digital components in the real world by manipulating them to interact with physical world. Practical examples include sending virtual robots to attack you in the physical world by projecting them from a video game. It is a form of blending or rather augmenting the reality you live in with virtual objects.