December 19, 2018

 There is a silent revolution happening in the world of technology and if you don’t pay attention, you will miss it.

 Apple, Microsoft, Google and a lot of big companies are working hard on a new form of user interface called Augmented Reality (AR), or Mixed Reality. Though there are already several AR devices in the market, the technology has still not come to the mainstream.

 Virtual reality has been on the rise since Oculus entered the scene a few years ago. After Facebook brought the company, Oculus has released several VR devices including the recent standalone VR device Oculus Go.

 As the popularity of virtual reality increases, it is also drawing attention to the augmented reality. So what is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?

Virtual Reality, as it exists today, is a simulated reality that is created by suppressing external visual stimuli. A user has to wear a headset that completely cuts off the external lights. Virtual reality tricks your brain into thinking the simulated world is actually the real world. It accomplishes this by using a stereoscopic lens, screen and head tracking motion sensors. As you move your head, the VR software presents the corresponding angle with very low lag, tricking your brain into believing that you are really in the simulated world.

 Owing to this ‘tricking’ part, there are certain hazards associated with virtual reality. Using VR devices may cause seizures, nausea or even vomiting.

Augmented reality works quite differently. It adds a layer of computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real world. It is like looking at the world through a color filter, in this case, a computer-generated filter. For example, you can look at an empty desk, choose to open a keyboard and type using it, by using an AR device.

Apart from just superimposing images into the real world, certain AR devices also allow us to interact with them. For example, you can expand an object, turn it around, delete, etc.

 The biggest difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is that there is no tricking of the brain involved in AR. As a result, there are no health hazards in using these devices for a long time.

 While retail grade VR devices are already in the Market, AR is still in development and commercial markets only. But you will see them soon in a store near you.

AR vs VR

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