Virtual reality and augmented reality are two of the technologies called to dominate the future. However, although many people use these terms as synonyms, the truth is that there are many differences between augmented reality and virtual reality. And not only in terms of its concept or technological design but also in terms of its uses and applications.
What Is Augmented Reality?
The Augmented reality is a technology that uses the camera and/or displays of mobile electronic devices to project virtual images of the actual image. For example, through the mobile phone, you can focus on a painting, a street or any object, on which a virtual image will be superimposed.
In other words, augmented reality creates a mixed reality, which mixes real objects with fictitious ones. This gives rise to a modified or altered reality.
In order to project images in augmented reality, there must be markers. These markers are images that contain codes or symbols that allow mobile devices to interpret these signals to project a virtual image onto an object or surface.
Augmented reality is evolving more and more, and what in principle were simple QR codes that allowed visitors to be redirected to other hyperlinks, has gradually been transformed into applications that can add all kinds of virtual images and text to the real image.
Although they are two similar technologies, there are certain differences between augmented and virtual reality. In the following points, we explain the concept of virtual reality and why it is different from augmented reality.
What Is Virtual Reality?
The virtual reality is a technology that, unlike augmented reality, do not modify or alter reality, but creates a whole new reality. Through computer programming, worlds and environments are generated that represent an alternative representation of reality. In other words, it is a simulation in which the user enters a completely different virtual world from the real one.
Virtual reality needs technological supports that can completely isolate the user from the real world, for example, virtual reality headsets. These supports are capable of capturing the movements of the person and transferring them to that virtual world, creating a total feeling of immersion.
This does not mean that there is no relationship between virtual reality and the real world. For example, VR can make representations of reality, that is, create existing environments that can be accessed from anywhere through the use of a device, without the need to be physically in them.
5 Differences Between Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
We have already seen the definition of both terms, but to see the differences between augmented reality and augmented and virtual reality it is better to show both technologies in a direct confrontation. Or what is the same, in this section we face augmented reality vs. virtual reality.
1. Modification vs Creation Of Reality
Augmented reality modifies reality by adding virtual images to the real image. For example, a garment on which its size, price or colour variations are projected.
Virtual reality totally transforms reality and immerses the user in a unique virtual world, unrelated to the environment in which the person is.
2. Necessary Devices
Augmented reality can be projected through special glasses or helmets, but also through generic devices such as smartphones. Virtual reality requires specific helmets and visors that allow the user to be isolated and “locked” in a virtual three-dimensional world.
3. Applications & Uses
Augmented reality has numerous applications and is used in different professional sectors: leisure, tourism, education, health, architecture and a long etcetera. Virtual reality is used essentially for a recreational purpose, especially related to the field of video games.
Augmented reality aims to interact with objects or environments to promote the sale of products or services. For example, the explanations in augmented reality about the paintings have the ultimate goal of attracting more people to the museum.
Virtual reality is the product itself, and its objective is to sell the product itself and the experiences it offers.
5. Degree Of Immersion
Augmented reality offers a high degree of immersion, but it is always partial. It does not immerse the user in another alternate reality.
Virtual reality offers a degree of total immersion. The user has the feeling of being in a world totally different from the real one, a complete simulation of a reality unrelated to the environment around him.