What’s the first thing in your mind that pops up when you hear the terms “AR” and “VR”? Perhaps the infamous Pokemon Go game that made you go addicted to chasing after those cute little virtual creatures? Do you then know which technology the developer uses to design this game? If you haven’t already, the correct answer would be Augmented Reality.
However, gaming is not quite the only industry that these powerful, immersive technologies have altered throughout its course of existence. It has changed multiple industries by transforming each of them to go beyond their limitations. With the involvement of AR & VR in the overall picture- you can see, feel, touch, taste and smell something that might not even be there.
Though these two technologies’ designs are strikingly similar, there are notable differences between them – especially in the way we use their screens. To identify them, you’ll have to dive deep into the meaning behind these terms:
What is Augmented Reality?
Defined by Google, and known as AR in abbreviation, it is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” Just simply using your smartphone, your real-world can be expanded or enhanced with the additional use of virtual elements such as text, images, interactive graphics, and other virtual information.
What About Virtual Reality (VR) then?
Do not be fooled by what you see- they are probably the results of the Virtual Reality or in the shorter-term, VR-integrated headset that you’re wearing! What you’ve just experienced is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that is artificial and presented to you in such a believable way that you accept it as a real environment. Throughout using VR applications, you may even be able to navigate your way through this VR world and manipulate the objects.
In a simplified manner, VR replaces reality – transporting you to somewhere else, while AR adds onto the existing reality, projecting information just on top of what you’re witnessing.
Now that we have grasped their immensely powerful implications, why not we see some impressive examples of AR & VR applications to make you understand better:
AR: To enhance customers’ travel experience, hotels and resorts can furnish them with extra information on the local places of interest to visit around the hotel when the users point their smartphones towards a particular building or a landmark.
VR: Virtual tours will soon become a popular favorite among tourists – travelers can experience what and how the hotel looks like even before they arrive at the location.
AR: Medical students can train now themselves in human anatomy using AR headsets without having to dissect a cadaver or even watch live operations, also better than having to insert invasive cameras or probes.
VR: With so many patients having to endure chronic pain, the usage of VR-based applications can provide a distraction during their pain management treatment as they can surround themselves with the beautiful, immersive virtual environment.
AR: Need to buy new furniture but not sure if they’re right for your home? Thanks to AR-based applications, it is used even by retailers such as IKEA to assist their customers in making purchasing decisions by overlaying digital images of their furniture in their real-time living space.
VR: Companies can provide personalized training and learning experiences to their employees that can potentially boost their productivity and even cut HR costs.
AR: Making it suitable for kids of all ages, teachers have started introducing AR applications within classrooms to deliver education content on a particular subject that becomes a fun, yet engaging and immersive learning experience -from music to astrophysics lessons.
VR: Wish to explore past histories and close-to-extinction cultural background? No problem – VR applications make that happen by transporting the students outside of existing real environments and bringing them vivid experiences.
AR: Many prestigious car brands in the market allow their customers to test drive their desired vehicles by using – wait for it… their very own smartphones!
VR: Fancy seeing all talented car designers from different continents working together to come up with the most astounding vehicle designs? Now with VR technology, it is possible to gather them all in one place to work on the modification without having to create an entirely new physical mockup.
No doubt there is a rapid growth for augmented reality and virtual reality which can bring about endless possibilities and going beyond. Another plus point would be that these technologies are still in its early development stages, which means there are plenty of opportunities that we have yet tapped into.
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