The terms “virtual reality” and “augmented reality” are used around a lot nowadays, appreciation for the revitalization of VR headsets broadcasted by the Oculus Rift and the aim of AR apps and games like Pokemon Go.
They sound identical, and as the technologies develop, they bleed over into each other a bit. They’re two very varied notions, though, with factors that readily differentiate them from one another. Let’s see what virtual reality is.
VR headsets entirely take over your vision to provide you the opinion that you’re somewhere else. The Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and other headsets are totally opaque, blocking out your surroundings when you wear them. If you put them on when they’re not turned on, you might think you’re blindfolded.
When the headsets turn on, nonetheless, the LCD or OLED panels inward are refracted by the lenses to fully serve your field of vision with whatever is being exhibited. It can be a 360-degree video, a game, or just the virtual space of the platforms’ interfaces. Visually, you’re taken to wherever the headset likes you to go, for instance, the outside world is renovated with a virtual one.
Most tethered VR headsets like the Vive, the Rift, the PlayStation VR, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets utilize six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) motion tracking thankfulness to external sensors or cameras (for the Vive, Rift and PS VR), outward-facing cameras’ (for WMR). This suggests the headsets do not just distinguish the direction in which you’re facing, but any activity you make in those directions.
This, incorporated with 6DOF motion controllers, lets you walk around in a virtual space. This space exists restricted to a few square meters across, but it’s much more immersive than just sitting or standing still and looking in different directions. The drawback is that you need to be careful not to trip over any cable that attaches the headset to your game system or computer.
Microsoft names its Windows 10 VR headsets “Windows Mixed Reality” headsets. Do not let the word confuse you. “Mixed reality” in this case is solely virtual reality. They’re VR headsets, with zero “mixed” about them, besides the truth that some of the underlying interface technology arrives from the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition.
There are mobile-based headsets like the Google Daydream View and standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go are less significant than tethered VR headsets because they believe in smartphone-level processing either attached to or built-in, fairly than a much quicker system nearby. Furthermore, they barely propose three-degrees-of-freedom (3DOF), which indicates they only track direction and not a positional activity or movement. They usually have a single 3DOF motion controller remote or are manufactured in a way to work with more traditional gamepads. The experiences are identical, but not approximately as immersive.
Virtual reality entirely displaces your surroundings, taking you to other places. Where you are physical does not matter, for both apps and games. In games, you might settle in the cockpit of a starfighter. In apps, you might virtually tour foreign locations as if you were there. There are plenty of possibilities in virtual reality, and they all encompass replacing everything around you with something else.
Whereas virtual reality rebuilds your vision, augmented reality strengthens to it. AR equipment like the Microsoft HoloLens and several enterprise-level “smart glasses” are transparent, allowing you to see everything in front of you as if you are wearing a soft pair of sunglasses. The technology is formulated for entirely free movement while propelling images over whatever you look at. The idea broadens to smartphones with AR apps and games like Pokemon Go, which utilize your phone’s camera to track your surroundings and cover extra information on top of it, on the screen.
AR displays can propose something as modest as a data overlay that demonstrates the time, to something as entangled as holograms floating in the middle of a room. Pokemon Go shoots a Pokemon on your screen, on top of whatever the camera is glancing at. The HoloLens and various other smart glasses like the remarkable Magic Leap One simultaneously, grant you to practically place floating app windows and 3D exaggerations around you.
This technology has various drawbacks correlated with virtual reality: visual immersion. Although VR completely encircles and rehabilitates your field of vision, AR apps only appear on your smartphone or tablet screen, and even the HoloLens can just project images in a particular area in front of your eyes. It is not very alluring when a hologram vanishes once it moves out of a rectangle in the middle of your vision, or when you desire to gaze at a small screen while simulating that the object on that screen is surely in front of you.
Basic AR that coincides with reasonable information over what you’re glancing at can work perfectly fine with 3DOF. Though, most AR applications need 6DOF in some form, tracking your physical position so the software can conserve consistent positions for the images it projects in 3D space.
Augmented reality has almost limitless possibilities for apps. Phone-based AR software has been identifying surroundings and delivering additional information about what it sees for years now, proposing a live translation of text or pop-up surveys of restaurants as you look at them.
For games, augmented reality can assemble experiences by borrowing your surroundings. The detective game Fragments surveys your room and establishes crime scenes found on its layout, placing numerous set pieces around and generating a slightly different experience with each room.
Another game, RoboRaid, detects where the walls are and projects holograms of robotic arms smashing through them and robots gushing. Young Conker positions obstacles all over your furniture, compiling its levels from your surroundings. In all of these cases, the games modify to fit the space.
The Difference Between AR and VR
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality accomplish two very unusual things in two very different ways, despite the identical designs of the tools themselves. VR replaces reality, by taking you somewhere else. AR enhances reality, projecting data on top of what you’re already seeing.
They’re both influential technologies that have ultimately to make their mark with customers but exhibit a lot of promise. They can entirely change how we use computers in the future, but whether one or both will fulfill is anyone’s guess right now.