AR vs VR, which one is better?

With the advancement in technology we often hear terms like “Virtual Reality (VR)” and “Augmented Reality (AR)”. These two technologies are more like cousins than twins. Augmented and virtual reality are similar as they remarkably alter our perception of the world. They only differ in the perception of our presence. You can swim with sharks with virtual reality whereas you can watch a shark pop out of your business card with augmented reality.

With the option for marketing, gaming, brand development, and entertainment, these technologies have gained significant interest. Almost 90 per cent of corporations with annual incomes between $100 million and $1 billion are now investing in AR or VR technology according to recent research by Deloitte.

You may have heard names like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard by now. But if you haven’t experienced virtual reality since that one arcade in the 80’s you will be blown away by its outstanding features and technology. These VR headsets block out your surroundings. You might feel blindfolded to the current world by putting a VR headset over your eyes.

The virtual world takes over the outside world when the headset turns on. It will enhance your other sense to a great extent. You might find yourself screaming inside a roller coaster ride or standing on the top of Mount K2. With this dramatic immersion, some users might also feel movement as they climb a staircase or ride a rollercoaster within the virtual environment. PC-connected VR headsets are costly, and only a few people are willing to buy them. You can purchase standalone headsets to experience VR. You don’t need to connect these headsets to a computer or console. Immersive videos are considered as a form of virtual reality by many people. Users need to wear a headset to experience immersive videos to their fullest. For example, in a 360-degree video, a user can look around the live scene.

Most tethered VR headsets operate by using 6DOF motion tracking. These headsets are capable to detect not only the direction but movement in that directions as well. You can move freely in a virtual space with the help of virtual hands due to 6DOF motion controllers. This small space restricts the user to a small area. This experience is more real and immersive than just looking in various directions and standing still. VR headset connects directly to your computer or game system. So it would be great if you are careful not to trip over any cable.

Augmented reality adds to your vision. Augmented reality does not move us elsewhere. By wearing a pair of transparent sunglasses with AR devices like the Microsoft HoloLens you can experience everything in front of you. The interactive holograms used by Microsoft reduces the gap between your PC and your living room.

This technology projects images over where you look. It also allows free movement. The concept of augmented reality has reached smartphones with augmented reality apps and games like Jenga, Jurassic World Alive, and Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is the prime example of AR entering into our daily lives and getting mass-market acceptance. Extra information is superimposed by these apps on top of the screen. To track your surroundings these apps use your phone’s camera.

From simple data overlays to complex holograms floating in the middle of the room are offered by AR displays. 3D decorations and floating app windows can be virtually placed around you with the futuristic pair of glasses like the mystifying Magic Leap 1 and HoloLens. AR apps only show up on your tablet screen or smartphone, whereas your field of vision is completely covered and blocked by the VR headsets. Even the Microsoft’s HoloLens can only project images in a small restricted. AR lacks visual immersion as you need to look intently at a little screen while imagining that the object on that screen is in front of you in reality. Most augmented reality applications require 6DOF in some form. 3DOF works for basic AR that overlays simple information. The software in these applications can retain steady positions for the images it is projecting in the 3D space by tracking your physical position.

Crime scenes can be created by using the detective games fragments. Based on its layout, different set pieces are placed around which can produce a slightly diverse experience with each room. RoboRaid can detect the walls of the room and project holograms of robotic arms which can break through them. Young Conker assembles its levels from your surroundings by placing obstacles all over your furniture. The games change to fit the space in all of these cases. AR users have a sense of the real world as they are interacting with virtual objects around them. As AR doesn’t need to be a head-mounted display, it gives more freedom to its users.

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