Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality: Distinction and Overlaps

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality what’s the difference: Distinction and Overlaps

Augmented reality and virtual reality are terms that are frequently used interchangeably. VR headsets such as the Valve Index, as well as AR apps such as Oculus Quest and games such as Pokemon Go, remain popular. They sound similar, and as technology advances, they will blend slightly more. However, they are two very different concepts, with distinct characteristics that distinguish one from the other. This article explains the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality and the distinction and overlaps. Read to know more about AR and VR

What Is Virtual Reality?

VR headsets completely take over your vision, creating the illusion that you are somewhere else. When worn, the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive Cosmos, Oculus Quest, Valve Index, and other headsets are opaque, blocking out your surroundings. You might think you’re blindfolded if you put them on while they’re turned off.

When you turn on the headsets, the LCD or OLED panels inside are refracted by the lenses, filling your field of vision with whatever is displayed. It could be a game, a 360-degree video, or simply the virtual space between the platforms’ interfaces. Visually, you are transported to wherever the headset desires—the outside world is replaced with a virtual one.

Motion tracking with six degrees of freedom is used in tethered VR headsets like the Index and PS VR, as well as standalone VR headsets like the Quest 2. This technology is provided by external sensors or cameras (for the Index and PS VR) or outward-facing cameras (for Quest 2). This means that the headsets detect not only the direction you’re facing but also any movement you make in those directions. With this and 6DOF motion controllers, you can move around in a virtual space with virtual hands. This space is typically only a few square metres across, but it is far more immersive than simply standing still and looking in various directions.

The disadvantage is that you need to watch not to trip over any cables connecting the headset to your computer or game system.

Virtual reality supersedes your surroundings in both games and apps, transporting you to different locations. Where you are physically doesn’t matter. In games, you may find yourself as a starfighter. You can virtually tour distant locations as if you were there using apps. In VR, there are numerous possibilities, all of which involve replacing everything around you with something else.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces your vision, augmented reality augments it. AR devices, such as the Microsoft HoloLens and other enterprise-level “smart glasses,” are transparent, allowing you to see everything in front of you as if you were wearing a pair of poor-quality sunglasses.

The technology is intended to allow for free movement while projecting images onto whatever you are looking at. The concept is extended to smartphones through AR apps and games like Pokemon Go, which use your phone’s camera to track your surroundings and overlay additional information on top of it, on the screen.

AR displays can be as simple as a time overlay to as complex as holograms floating in the middle of a room. Pokemon Go overlays a Pokemon on top of whatever the camera is viewing. Meanwhile, you can virtualize floating app windows and 3D decorations around you with the HoloLens and other smart glasses.

This technology has a significant disadvantage when compared to virtual reality: visual immersion.

When compared to virtual reality, this technology has a significant disadvantage: visual immersion. While VR completely covers and replaces your field of vision, AR apps only appear on your smartphone or tablet screen, and the HoloLens can only project images in front of your eyes in a limited area.

When a hologram disappears as if it once moves out of a rectangle in the middle of your vision, or when you stare at a small screen while pretending that the object on that screen is in front of you, it’s not very immersive.

Basic augmented reality that overlays simple information over what you’re looking at can work perfectly well with 3DOF. Most augmented reality applications, on the other hand, require 6DOF in some form, tracking your physical position so that the software can maintain consistent positions for the images it projects in 3D space. This is why the HoloLens uses a stereoscopic camera and advanced pattern recognition to determine its location at all times, and why more advanced, AR-centric smartphones track depth with multiple rear-facing cameras.

The Difference Between AR and VR

Despite the similar designs both augmented and reality accomplish two very different things. VR replaces reality by taking you to another world AR, on the other hand, augments reality by superimposing data on top of what you already see. They are both powerful technologies that have yet to make an impression on consumers but show a lot of promise. They have the potential to completely transform how we use computers in the future, but whether one or both will succeed is currently unknown.

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