What is AR & VR – Full Breakdown, Tips, FAQs & More

You may have heard of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) but might not know the differences between them. 

Oftentimes, they’re used interchangeably which is worrying since they’re quite different from one another. 

This post will delve into the specific differences between AR and VR. We’ll also look at some examples to get a better understanding of how they differ.

Quick Summary

In this post, we will shed light upon: 

  • What virtual reality (VR) is 
  • What augmented reality (AR) is 
  • The differences between AR and VR 
  • Some examples of AR 
  • Some examples of VR 

So without further ado, let’s get started.

What is Virtual Reality (VR)? 

Virtual reality consists of a fully immersive computer-generated simulation. Special lenses are used to visualize that computer-generated space. Furthermore, your movements are taken as inputs to allow you to traverse through that virtual space. 

What is Augmented Reality (VR)? 

Hence, essentially, when it comes to VR, the entirety of the space that you inhabit is artificial and generated with the help of a computer. 

What is Augmented Reality (VR)? 

Augmented reality involves adding digital or computer-generated elements into real-world surroundings. This means that the primary space that is utilized is real. However, some artificial elements are created and added into the space. 

With the help of augmented reality apps, you can provide inputs to interact with these digital elements. More sophisticated augmented reality apps even allow digital elements to interact with real-world elements of the space. 

The Differences Between AR and VR 

This post delves into the minutia of how AR and VR differ and what these differences mean for how they are utilized. 

Augmented Reality (AR)

When it comes to AR, the main purpose is for the digital elements and the real-world elements to coexist in the same environment. The primary environment that is utilized is the real-world space that the user inhabits. 

Oftentimes, AR apps are used to provide some sort of historical data or useful information related to the real objects in the space. This data is provided to the user with the help of the digital elements of the app. 

An example of such an AR app would be an app that provides solutions to failing equipment in an industrial setting. The app could provide such solutions when the headset is aimed at a failing piece of equipment. 

We talked about a headset in our example but AR apps often don’t use full-sized eye-covering headsets. Rather, such apps are usually run through a smartphone or a tablet. 

Hence, they’re not usually as immersive as VR apps. 

Virtual Reality (VR)

While there do exist many examples where AR apps are used for entertainment, they are most prevalent in educational fields. This is due to their convenient ability to generate digital overlays that relay information about different real-world objects and scenarios. 

Virtual Reality (VR)

With virtual reality, you are not limited by your surroundings as your surroundings are entirely computer-generated. This gives developers unique freedom with VR apps, and thus, many VR games that you see are often designed to be fantastical and consist of appealing visuals. 

Unlike AR, VR almost always requires the user to wear a full-sized headset that can provide them with the illusion of them being in a virtual space. 

The limitlessness of VR has made it popular in the entertainment industry. 

While there’s definitely incredible research dedicated to educational fields as well, VR is most known today for its entertainment utilities. This is especially true when it comes to the gaming industry. 

That being said, its usefulness in other fields, such as medicine, product design, testing, architecture, design, and retail, should not be downplayed. 

Examples of Augmented Reality (AR) 

Here are some great examples as to how augmented reality is being utilized by different industries today: 

  • Ikea Place is a mobile app from Ikea. It allows you to envision what a certain piece of furniture will look like in your room. It does this by displaying a 3D representation of the piece of furniture onto a Livestream of your room through your smartphone. 
  • YouCam Makeup is an easy-to-use app that allows users to check out what different types of makeup would look like on their face. This is achieved by the user providing a live feed of their face to the app. 
  • Augmented reality is increasingly being utilized to instruct repair technicians on how to fix certain pieces of equipment with ease. As mentioned earlier, this is achieved by digital overlays that explain exactly what the technician must do to fix it. 
  • Pokemon Go became extremely popular in the past few years and it’s an augmented reality game that allows you to catch Pokemon in the real world.

Examples of Virtual Reality (VR) 

Here are some examples on how we have taken advantage of the recent great developments within the world of VR: 

What are the Types of AR and VR? 
  • VR has carved a sub-genre within the gaming industry that is highly unique and allows players to really immerse themselves within a game’s virtual world. 
  • VR is super crucial in the automotive industry, where manufacturers can easily experiment with designs without having to develop expensive prototypes. 
  • VR is being extensively researched in the healthcare industry as well. It has been shown to hold promise, especially in treating mental illness. It’s also being utilized to train newer doctors and surgeons. 
  • Fields such as architecture and interior design have heavily benefited from VR as well. It allows them to easily visualize certain ideas without having to spend money and resources on expensive materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What are the Types of AR and VR? 

There are 3 main categories of simulations that are utilized today: 

  1. Non-immersive
  2. Semi-immersive
  3. Fully-immersive simulations

Is AR Better Than VR? 

One field is not better than the other. It doesn’t make sense to compare them like this since they’re fairly different and offer very different utilities in terms of research and development.

What are the Three Elements of AR? 

AR typically consists of three features: 

  1. Both digital and real-world elements
  2. Interactions between them that are made in real-time
  3. Precise 3D identifying and classification of digital and real-world elements

What’s Another Name for Augmented Reality? 

Augmented reality is often considered synonymous with mixed reality. 

Can AR and VR be Implemented Together? 

Yes. Although the technology is not super developed, research is underway where AR, VR and robotics are utilized to control machines. 

Research is being conducted where machines could be controlled through AR, VR and robotics.

Conclusion 

We hope now you have a better understanding of augmented reality, virtual reality and how they differ from each other. 

Both of them are exciting fields and with the research being conducted, the amount of innovation we’ll see in the future is limitless. 

What do you think of AR and VR? Would you buy a mixed-reality headset or a virtual reality headset? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Author

  • Victor Marquez

    Victor is the Editor in Chief at Techtyche. He tests the performance and quality of new VR boxes, headsets, pedals, etc. He got promoted to the Senior Game Tester position in 2021. His past experience makes him very qualified to review gadgets, speakers, VR, games, Xbox, laptops, and more. Feel free to check out his posts.

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