Virtual reality & augmented reality, however similar, are actually two different concepts altogether. Although they both let us experience a different kind of reality—one that is very much different from what we see with our own naked eyes—they are not the same banana at all.
Virtually Real: Reality of a Different Kind
Virtual reality (VR) is the world we see through a headset. With these devices, we are allowed to experience a different kind reality, one that’s separate from what we experience when we take the headset off. It’s enhanced, tweaked, added on, to give us a feeling of being in a different dimension. It has the power to take us to a totally different realm and it’s as real as virtual technology can get.
Augmenting Reality: Seeing Reality with a Twist
Augmented reality (AR) on the other hand is a reality—the one around us—with added value. It is reality as we know it. It’s the one we see when we wake up—only augmented. When we pass by the park on our daily morning walks, we see it pretty much the same way—only with a few Pokémon monsters on the side. By looking through an AR lens, we are able to see the world around us with a totally fresh set of eyes.
VR versus AR: A Divergence of Realities
Both VR and AR allow us to experience a different kind of reality in similar yet very much unique ways. One offers us a different world while the other presents an enhanced version of our world through the lens.
The future looks bright and very much exciting with both technologies seeping over into mainstream culture. And as all cultural phenomena go, you can be sure it will snowball into something even greater. So we all have to watch out! Who knows what other applications we silly humans can come up with next with the realities we have today—virtual or augmented.