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Augmented Reality (AR) vs. Virtual Reality (VR) – The Battle Begins

July 12, 2016


“In that faraway land my dreams merge into reality. The picture perfect world where the daffodils and the lilies spread fragrance around,  the mountains create beautiful valleys, the orchards are filled with the apple of my choice, the greenery around me holding me tight to mother nature… while I am having the yummiest Black forest pastry! I just want to go to a new planet and be there by myself. I want to be in a different world altogether,” I have said this couple of times. I am sure you have too, either secretly or publicly. Maybe you think that there are other planets better than earth to live on! Or you just wanted it! What if you could actually transport yourself to a new world altogether for a while or more?

So essentially this is what VR does. It’s a new world that has been artificially created using various technologies that will take you out of the world you are currently in. To be precise, it is immersive. So literally you are in an artificially created environment with no contact with the real world. You could get immersed in VR games like StarWars, Arizona Sunshine, System Shock 3 and Rigs. You could sit down on your comfy couch and watch movies in VR and participate in the action.  VR is not just for fun and entertainment; you could also use it to see the architecture of a building that has not even been built. You could show informative stuff like outer space trivia, the age of dinosaurs and more through VR and create lifelike visualization.

Now VR is an imaginary world, so it’s a little out there. That’s when Augmented Reality (AR) came into the picture adding reality into imagination. So virtual elements are put into the user’s real world.  Elements like graphics, sounds, smell etc are added to the natural world to create the feel of augmented reality. Computer-generated enhancements in AR make it more meaningful as a technology and the user is also able to interact with it making it livelier.

From where we stand, both VR and AR alter our perception of the world. For the common man, things are much more happening with these technologies. But how are they different from one another?

 A report published by Goldman Sachs predicts a huge market for VR and AR by 2025. The chart given below talks more about it.


AR vs VR, the battle

Not real vs ‘Kinda’ real

VR is completely fictitious or rather artificial while AR is a mix of both the imaginary and the real world. In the avengers saga, when Robert Downey Jr. aka Stark works his way through a combination of technology and his thoughts. That’s augmented reality. Matrix is an example of VR.

The route is different: VR experience is delivered through head-mounted or hand-held controllers. AR is usually through smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Immersive vs ‘not-so-immersive’: In VR experiences, you are completely immersed in a new world. But in AR experiences, you are aware at some point that it is a combination of virtual and real.

Which is better?

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Transparent Reality….oomph, that is a lot of reality. But what is the “real reality”? There is no clear cut answer to the question of which is better.  Both alter our perception of the world. Both the technologies have their own way of impacting the user. Some predict that AR will have a sustainable market as there is a blend of reality and imagination in it. We won’t be able to put our foot down and opinionate as the technology formation and implementation is still at a very nascent level compared to what it could be.

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