Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are important terms in an increasingly digital world. Although they are two different technologies, both terms are often used as synonyms, but let’s dig a little deeper and see what are the fundamental differences between them.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) are technologies that overlay or replace physical environments with virtual content. While AR enhances surroundings by incorporating digital components into live view, VR is an experience that replaces the actual world with a computer-generated simulation.
The difference between VR and AR creates divergent potential and use cases. For instance, the global market for AR was valued at roughlyt $17.67 billion in 2022, and will likely grow to 43.8 percent up to 2027. Conversely, global VR revenues will surpass $12 billion USD by 2027, which indicates a smaller market.
Ways To Differentiate AR And VR
1. The degree of immersion in virtual reality vs augmented reality
In VR, the user is completely absorbed in a virtual environment and minimises boundaries and markers. The system creates everything in the user’s environment, which may be exhibited inside a blank room via head-mounted displays (HMDs) or other equipment that helps users feel they are physically inside the virtual world.
In AR, however, real-world surroundings are overlaid with digital elements and the user may still view their physical environments to interact simultaneously with real and virtual worlds.
2. Difference in how the mechanics of AR and VR work
The two technologies operate differently in that AR utilizes computer vision, mapping, and depth sensing to display relevant material to the user, enabling cameras to gather, transmit, and analyze data to display digital material relevant to the user’s field of view.
In VR, two lenses are positioned between the screen. The user must their adjust the lenses with eye-tracking technologies, depending on the unique movement of each eye. Users may utilize visual, sound, and haptic (touch) stimuli to create an immersive manufactured world.
3. AR and VR use different types of hardware
VR relies on two types of headsets: standalone HMDs and headsets that tether to devices such as smartphones and tablets. The former is typically meant for enterprises and power users, who may access a computer network, or work wirelessly, needing a robust system to complete their operations.
They offer superior visuals and performance but are somewhat expensive, and can include the Oculus Rift or Quest, the Vive, and the PlayStation VR, to name a few notable examples.
The second sort of VR headset contains uses your phone and utilizes its display as its own. These do not need a computer and operate entirely on applications on your mobile device. Google Cardboard and Gear VR are two well-known examples.
4. Varying degrees of flexibility and use cases
Another key difference between AR and VR is how the two technologies are used. AR provides the user with more options, is preferable for companies seeking specific use cases, and is generally more common since it typically tethers to a mobile smartphone rather than laptops or larger devices.
Conversely, VR involves near-full immersion and real-time 3D (RT3D) content, and is a wonderful way to provide secure and safe training situations for employees who work in high-risk scenarios. For example, BP teamed up with the Igloo Vision to coach staff on emergency evacuation protocols at English oil refineries.
In contrast, AR use cases involve the exchange of information in a hands-on format. For example, field employees may receive critical data overlays from remote guides while they work to precisely resolve issues without requiring further assistance.
5. Diverging connectivity and bandwidth needs
Streaming VR-based 360-degree videos require speeds of 400 Mbps or more, according to industry research, which is 100x existing HD video capacities. On a VR headset, 4K resolution quality would require a minimum bandwidth of 500 Mbps, and streaming low-resolution 360-degree VR needs at least 25 Mbps.
AR applications need at least 100 Mbps and latency of no more than 1 millisecond. Although AR needs at least 25 Mbps for low-resolution 360-degree video, better quality mobile 360-degree video cannot match the dynamic range and sharpness of 360-degree cameras and bitrates increase with advancements in mobile display technologies. For VR, HD TV-ready resolution needs 80-100 Mbps.
Applications Of Augmented Reality (AR)
Here are the important applications of AR technology:
- AR apps are being developed which embed text, images, videos, etc.
- Printing and advertising industries are using AR technology apps to display digital content on top of real-world magazines.
- AR technology allows you for the development of translation apps that helps you to interpret the text in other languages for you.
- With the help of the Unity 3d Engine tool, AR is being used to develop real-time 3D Games.
Applications Of Virtual Reality (VR)
Here are the important applications of VR:
- VR technology is used to build and enhance a fictional reality for the gaming world.
- VR can use by the military for flight simulations, battlefield simulations, etc.
- VR is used as a digital training device in many sports and to help to measure a sports person’s performance and analyze their techniques.
- It is also becoming a primary method for treating post-traumatic stress.
- Using VR devices such as Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or users can be transported into real-world and imagined environments like squawking penguin colony or even the back of a dragon.
- VR technology offers a safe environment for patients to come into contact with things they fear.
- Medical students use VR to practice and procedures
- Virtual patients are used to help students to develop skills that can later be applied in the real world.
How AR And VR Work Together?
It will be wrong to convey that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are intended to operate separately. They mostly blended together to generate an improved engaging experience when these technologies are merged together to transport the user to the fictitious world by giving a new dimension of interaction between the real and virtual world.
Role Of Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality In The Metaverse
The metaverse refers to a simulated digital environment that combines multiple elements of technology, such as AR, VR, MR and blockchain, along with social media concepts to create spaces that enrich users’ interaction by mimicking the real world.
As a shared 3D virtual space with online infrastructure and real-time events, and with ever-evolving aspects which are collectively shared by its inhabitants, the metaverse is still expected to change the way people interact with each other, connecting the virtual and physical worlds.
The real and virtual are merged in the metaverse using AR and VR technologies, which play a key role in the metaverse’s formation. Augmented reality technology allows for embedding 3D visualizations into the real physical world, and offers real-time interaction.
What’s Next For AR And VR?
AR and VR have a decidedly bright future, and the years to come will bring many new capabilities and more widespread usage. Improvements in video quality, processing power, mobile bandwidth, and AR/VR hardware will drive more mainstream acceptance, and falling development costs and complexity will provide more options for creators to explore. Systems that track eye movement and facial expressions will slowly make clunky joysticks and other controllers obsolete.
While video gaming and entertainment will continue to drive this market, AR and VR will also see emerging practical applications. In the world of virtual reality, these include fully virtual surgery, in which surgeons perform their jobs only in a simulated environment and robotic systems do the actual work.
Education will likely continue to shift to a virtual model on AR and VR platforms both in academia and in the corporate world. And finally, retailers will continue to rely on AR applications to upgrade virtual shopping applications, slowly rendering the need for physical storefronts obsolete.