What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?

Although augmented reality and virtual reality seem similar terms, they represent both entirely different technologies. Both technologies have advanced in leaps and bounds and most likely will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is intended to take the reality that we observe and add to it through our senses, vision, hearing, touch, taste. “It allows us to insert virtual contents in the real world to run in the same representation and, in real time enhancing the user’s sensory perception of reality.

Additional artificial realities combine real and virtual objects in three dimensions and real time. By using our smartphones camera to display “real world” and adding a virtual overlay over the top.

Virtual reality endeavours to replace reality with devices that allow us to “feel” that enable us to find ourselves somewhere else. These devices immerse us in a reality that does not exist, transporting us to a constructed reality, a virtual reality.

Both technologies share similarities, but their goals are different.

Augmented Reality

Pokemon Dangers
Pokemon Dangers

The Pokemon Go craze illustrates the concept of Augmented Reality. Pokemon Go is a revolution in the world of video games and thanks to its creation many people are encountering this technology for the first time. Pokemon Go is a recreational use of augmented reality that creates digital content and adds it to the real world. The user just receives digital information in this case Pokemon on the screen of their smartphones using GPS and context recognition. The data that is received by your device is sensitive to movements of rotation or distance that apply at the time of approach. The digital information is overlayed on your smartphone screen.

Applications for Augmented Reality

Navigation – enhanced GPS using the phone’s camera in combination with GPS.
Tourism – live views of displays in a museum with facts and figures overlayed.
Military / Law Enforcement– Heads up Display (HUD) a transparent display positioned directly in the fighter pilots view. The Head-Mounted Display is used by the ground troops.
Medical – The technology can be combined with MRI or X-ray system and bring everything into a single view for the surgeon.
Entertainment – Pokemon Go

Virtual reality


Adobe Spark-17
You have to experience it for yourself


Virtual reality is by definition completely computer-generated simulation or real life recreation of an environment or situation. It is not a new concept. Nintendo introduced the Virtual Boy in 1995, and VR was portrayed in films such as Disclosure. Now it is getting mainstream attention thanks to VR headsets like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR and the Samsung Galaxy VR.

The Occulus Rift is a Virtual Reality, head mounted display (HMD) with a wide field of view, high definition video qualtiy.  Putting on the headset replaces a persons field of vision with a digital image , where each eye creates a 3D effect.

Applications for Virtual Reality

Entertainment – Watch a movie on an enormous virtual screen.
Healthcare – Virtual reality simulations that will simulate surgery.
NASA– Astronauts use virtual reality software to prepare for missions.
Automotive manufacturing – employees will be able to wear VR headset and inspect the interior and exterior of a car.
Education – Teen drive 36 campaign to educate parents about distracted driving.
Law -Jurors being able to evaluate a crime scene in 3D help them visualize how people and objects move through space.
Meditation and Health – Guided Meditation VR programme.  Meditation can reduce stress and anxiety from daily life.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are examples of how technology can improve our lives.  The way we experience and interact with our world is fundamentally changing.  I am filled with awe and wonder at the worlds these technologies are opening up.






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