Although augmented reality and virtual reality have been in use for quite a few years it is only now that it is attracting media attention. The difference between these two has been a point of confusion with both technologies promising immense growth. But first of all, we should be clear in our minds as to what both these technologies stand for
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality is an advanced but artificial computer simulated technology that has the ability to recreate an environment whether real or imaginary. It makes the user experience the replicated environment as real and firsthand by stimulating their sight, smell, touch and hearing. The user can enter the environment by wearing special VR headsets and experience the situations eg. Creating and enhancing an experience while playing video and computer games or watching 3D movies. Another example is enhancing training in real life by creation of a reality simulation like pilots using flight simulators.
Virtual reality can be attained through VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language), a code language that is used to construct a series of images specifying the possible types of interactions for them.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is a technology whereby elements of real environments are augmented or magnified by computer-generated sensors like video, graphics, sounds or GPS data. It is basically blending of computer-generated enhancements onto an already existing reality to make it more significant enhancing one another. AR has been developed into apps and is being used on mobile devices blending digital components into the real world in a way that besides enhancing one another they can also be told apart.
Differences Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
The technology behind both augmented reality and virtual reality is similar with one aim to provide the user with an improved or enriched experience
Both technologies besides being sought for entertainment are also helping to bring new artificial worlds to life under the control of the users. Technology experts are developing new modifications and releasing more apps and products for tech savvy users to support their technology.
In the field of science and medicine both augmented and virtual reality has the ability to change the perspective of the medical field by making even remote surgeries possible. Both these technologies are presently being used to treat psychological disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Augmented reality makes use of virtual components like graphics, digital images as a new way of interacting with the real world to enhance the user experiences while virtual reality creates its own computer generated reality.
Virtual reality is offered to the users either through a head mounted control or a hand held control connecting people to virtual reality and allowing them to control their actions simulating the real world.
Augmented reality is increasingly being used in mobile devices like laptops, smart phones and tablets to change the way real world interacts with digital images and graphics.
One cannot just generalize virtual reality or augmented reality as they do not work independently rather they blend with each other offering a more engrossing experience. Augmented reality does seem a little ahead of virtual reality with more commercial success with a rise of AR hardware devices from Google and Microsoft. On the other hand as far as virtual reality is concerned, though technology is advancing it is still further away from the virtual world. Whether they are alone or working together they are unquestionably opening up new worlds, both virtual and real.
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