Today, Fantasy Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) are known collectively as Extended Reality (XR) and they’ve surely taken entertainment to the next level. They are becoming more popular as every day passes. VR offers a digital recreation of a real life setting while AR delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world.
VR is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as his or her real environment. It is primarily experienced on the screen through sight and sound. The simplest form of VR is a simple 3-D image. It is trending nowadays and extending beyond gaming, making its way through developmental and educational purposes. It is used to generate realistic images, sounds, and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. VR headsets are used to create this effect.
Virtual reality can be divided into the following:
- The simulation of a real environment for training and education.
- The development of an imagined environment for a game or interactive story.
Software: The Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) allows the creator to specify images and the rules for their display and interaction using textual language statements.
Hardwear: There are special input devices that are required for interaction with the virtual world. These include the 3D mouse, the wired glove, motion controllers, and optical tracking sensors. Controllers typically use optical tracking systems for location and navigation.
The main application of VR is the entertainment industry – primarily the gaming industry, but it also plays a role in therapeutic interventions psychology, social sciences, and rehabilitation.
There are some therapies that use virtual reality to induce an effect. 17 recent studies with randomized controlled trials have shown that virtual reality applications are effective in treating cognitive deficits with neurological diagnoses. Virtual reality offers a cost-effective tool to study and replicate interactions in a controlled environment.
It is far more beneficial in the medical field and further research is taking place to prove its benefits. In elderly patients, virtual reality can help patients to defy the senses of loneliness and depression. For training purposes, it can be used to provide learners with a virtual environment where they can develop their skills without the real-world consequences of failing.
With each step forward in the digital revolution, “The Matrix” becomes less like fiction and more like reality. AR is the technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information into it. Unlike VR, AR does not create the whole artificial environment to replace real with a virtual one. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it.
Augmented reality is the blending of interactive digital elements – like dazzling visual overlays or other sensory projections into our real world. If you have experienced the hubbub of Pokemon Go then you have witnessed AR in action. The primary value of AR is the manner in which components of the digital world blend into a person’s perception of the real world.
There are 4 types of augmented reality today:
- Markerless AR
- Marker-based AR
- Projection-based AR
- Superimposition-based AR
Possible applications of AR include archaeology, architecture, commerce, and education. In Architecture, AR aid in visualizing building projects by creating a 3D image that can be superimposed onto a real-life local view of a property before the physical building is constructed there. AR applied in the visual arts allows objects or places to trigger artistic multidimensional experiences and interpretations of reality. This technology aided the development of eye tracking technology to translate a disabled person’s eye movements into drawings on a screen.
Certainly in today’s world, the possibilities of AR tech are limitless. The only uncertainty is how smoothly and quickly developers will integrate these capabilities into devices that we can use in our daily lives in the near future.
How do Augmented and Virtual Realities Differ?
Purpose: AR enhances experiences by adding virtual components such as digital images, graphics, or sensations as a new layer of interaction with the real world. Contrastingly, VR creates its own reality that is completely computer generated and driven.
Delivery Method: VR is usually delivered to the user through a head-mounted, or hand-held controller. This equipment connects people to the virtual reality, and allows them to control and navigate their actions in an environment meant to simulate the real world.
AR is being used more and more in mobile devices such as laptops, smart phones, and tablets to change how the real world and digital images, graphics intersect and interact.
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- Bonsor, Kevin and Chandler, Nathan. “How Augmented Reality Works.” How Stuff Works.