What Is the Difference Between VR and AR?

If perception alteration is what you’re after in technology, you’ll want to acquaint yourself better with the terms VR and AR. They mean virtual reality and augmented reality, respectively—and no, they’re not the same, even if they do get thrown around in the same discussions a lot.

It’s increasingly looking like both technologies will continue to shape the world of marketing, education, gaming, and several other fields moving forward. When you shop on Electrotech Fashion and other websites, that tells you the concept has made its mark on e-commerce, as well.

But back to the question at hand: what is the difference between the two?

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality uses our existing reality and creates something new in it. It’s simpler and less advanced than VR and can be done using almost any of today’s smartphones. This is also what makes it more efficient as a branding tool than virtual reality.

Using augmented reality, you can transform current surroundings into a fantasy world by projecting virtual characters and images through a video viewer application or cellphone. It doesn’t alter the look of the ground you’re standing on; it merely adds to it. 

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality applies the same concepts and components in augmented reality but takes it to the next level. Thus, what appears is a completely new world simulated by a computer. These alternate worlds are more immersive and allow you to create almost any visual element your imagination can conjure.

VR integrates all the senses using special equipment such as gloves, headsets, computers, and sensors. Users get goggles and closed visors that come with reality-blocking features, making you feel as if you truly are some place else.

Brands that come to mind when VR is mentioned are Google, Samsung, and Oculus. The virtual reality concept first introduced in the ‘80s has now become a global phenomenon. Since its popularity is showing no signs of stopping, it’ll only be a matter of time before other brands enter the game and start developing their versions of the technology.

The Immersiveness of Virtual Reality

Placing the VR headset over your eyes transports you instantly to a new world. You’ll be blind to your current surroundings but find your senses expanding to experience your perceived environment.

You can be anywhere, from a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific to right in the middle of Times Square, New York. There are literally no limits to the places, scenes, and situations you can conjure up.

The immersion may result in drastic changes in feeling, with some users finding themselves no longer knowing where fantasy ends and reality begins. 

The Differences Between AR and VR

So far, we’ve gathered that one is a more advanced version of the other and is more immersive. But in what other ways are these two perception-altering technologies different?

One Adds To Your Current Reality, the Other Creates a New World

In augmented reality, your sense of the real world isn’t altered completely. Your surroundings will be as they are; AR will simply add a few other elements to them.

On the other hand, virtual reality causes your current world to take an entirely new shape. It completes the experience by letting you feel, see, smell, and hear this alternate reality to a certain degree. 

Self-Controlled vs. System-Controlled

AR gives you free rein over the elements you can add to the current world. You can create as many additions as you want, though you won’t be able to morph the ground they stand on.

Using VR, you surrender entirely to the new world and its conditions. Things will play out exactly how the system wants it to and not how you would. Nevertheless, you have control over your actions and decisions in this made-up reality.

Equipment

As mentioned previously, you can access AR via almost any smartphone these days. Thus, you’ll only need one device to activate AR, and a simple one at that! That isn’t to say that VR is more difficult to access since you shouldn’t have trouble doing so with the right equipment.

That said, to complete your VR experience, you’d need a headset, gloves, computer, and sensors. The headset alone should be enough to transpose you to an alternate world, but your sensation of this new environment would only be limited to sight. The ideal equipment package is what makes for a truly immersive experience.

AR Deals With Real and Virtual, While VR Deals Purely With Fictional

Both these perception-manipulating tools have roles to play in various industries, and they’re only going to get bigger in the future. You’ve likely been using AR, even if you didn’t know quite what it was until now. You might be yet to experience VR, but you at least know now what to expect from it.

Augmented reality lets you enhance the real world by adding and changing virtual elements in it. As for virtual reality, it subjects you to an entirely fictional world where your senses are at the mercy of the system.

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