Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

Difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is an interesting topic for anyone who is into the virtual experience. Augmented reality involves blending of computer generated features to the real world as experienced by a subject. On the other hand,virtual reality includes immersing the user fully in a virtual world while separating him from the real world. Virtual reality is hence much complicated than augmented reality and needs high cost and technology. In both systems, a computer system is used for processing of real-time data to render the programmed features.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is enhancing one’s experience with the real world by using computer interfaces. In augmented reality, the subject directly or indirectly interact with the real world while computer simulated features are blended with the real world. A simple example can be a sports match shown on TV. Apart from the real match, additional information such as scores and statistics which are supplementary components are shown. Today the technology is more advanced, that now, it is possible to blend the supplementary components very smoothly with the real world.

To implement augmented reality, the needed hardware components include input devices, sensors, and processor and output devices. Via sensors such as accelerometers, GPS, magnetic and pressure sensors, supplementary information about the real world, which the user cannot directly perceive through his sense organs, are collected. Input devices let users give commands to the system interactively. The processor processes the data by executing software and the output devices are used to give the enhanced reality to the user. An output device can be a simple device such as a display, but more sophisticated and modern devices such as head-up-display, eye glasses, Virtual retinal display will blend augmented components with real world more smoothly. Apart from vision based outputs, it can include auditory and olfactory outputs as well.

Obviously, a smartphone contains the basic components necessary to provide an augmented reality. However,today , with the help of high technology equipment such as Google Glass, the blending can be done in a very live fashion. Augmented reality is heavily used in fields such as medicine, Architecture, Construction and education while, with the advancement of technology, it has been introduced to the everyday life as well.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is immersing the subject in a computer generated world. Here the user can interact with the virtual world and he is isolated from the real world. Since the user is separated from the real world , there is no much need of sensors to collect the information about the real world. However, input devices should be there to let the user interact with the virtual world. A processor with the help of software will render the virtual world based on the user input. Then with the use of sophisticated output devices, the user is immersed in the virtual world. Here simple devices such as a display will not be enough as then user will be able to see the difference between the real world and the virtual world. So advanced devices such as virtual reality helmets, goggles are preferred. A device called Oculus Rift, which is a virtual reality head-mounted display, is being currently developed and is expected to be released in 2015. Apart from sight, other senses such as taste, smell, sound, touch would be much preferred in order to give a live like experience.

Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is heavily used for computer gaming as inherently it should put the user into a virtual world. It is also used for therapeutic use for treating disorders such as phobias. For training purposes also this is a really important technology especially for areas such as air force. Currently, no system in the world can immerse the user 100% into a virtual world. Such systems are seen in science fiction while today’s technology can immerse the user to a considerable amount to a virtual world but , yet the user can identify the real world with the virtual world.

What is the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

• In augmented reality, the user interacts with the real world, but in virtual reality, the user does not interact with the real world. He interacts with the virtual world only.

• In augmented reality, user experiences supplementary components blended with the real world. However, in virtual reality, user is isolated from the real world and is fully immersed in the virtual word.

• Virtual reality needs more advanced technology than augmented reality. To give a life-like feeling in a virtual world, virtual reality needs sophisticated technology.

• Augmented reality systems need sensors to collect data from the real world. However, in virtual reality , systems such equipment are not heavily used as user is isolated from the real world.

• The cost for implementing augmented reality is lesser than implementing virtual reality. Even a mobile phone has resources to implement an augmented reality, but for a virtual reality implementation, dedicated high-cost equipment is necessary.

• Currently, augmented reality products are available. Google Glasses is a good example for a sophisticated augmented reality product. However, a virtual reality system that can completely immerse the user in a different world is not yet available.

• More processing power and graphics processing is necessary for virtual reality than augmented reality.

• The algorithms and software for virtual reality would be larger and complex than what is used for augmented reality.


Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

In Augmented reality, user experiences supplementary features to the real world with the help of a computer system. He can easily identify the difference between the real world and the added computer generated features. On the other hand, virtual reality isolates the user from the real world and immerses him in a separate virtual computer generated world. Achieving successful virtual reality is hence lot more complicated and costlier than implementing an augmented reality system. Augmented reality is used for providing a better experience in the field such as education, sports, architecture, construction and even day to day life. Virtual reality will be preferred for purposes like gaming, training and therapeutic use for psychological disorders.