The Difference Between Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality: What Are The Differences?

Augmented reality. Virtual reality. Mixed reality. Assistive reality. Reduced reality. Extended reality. What do all these “terms” refer to, and how will they affect you in the coming years? You may have seen terms like “augmented reality” or “virtual reality” in news articles lately.
With so many new technologies emerging every day, it can be difficult to keep track of them. But, unlike some smart devices, these technologies may have been around for a long time, and that means you probably know what they are. We will break it down for you so that you can clarify all your questions and learn everything you need to know about both AR and VR.

What is extended reality?

We have already talked about many different changes to “reality.”. All of these can be discussed together under the name “extended reality,” which is a term that refers to all augmented environments, both real and virtual, and human-machine interactions resulting from computer technology and wearable devices. It is often abbreviated to “XR.” Depending on who you’re talking to, “X” is a variant of any current or future spatial computing technology where it can represent any of the other letters we’ll be discussing, or X can be short for “extended.” The meaning does not change.

In general, XR technology is an immersive environment where the view changes based on your orientation in space. This space can be fully digital, as in virtual reality (VR), or your physical space, as in augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR).

Extended reality is a rapidly growing field that is being applied in a wide variety of ways, such as entertainment, marketing, real estate, education, and telecommuting.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) essentially boils down to the creation of an entire virtual world that is spatially navigated, usually by a user represented by a virtual character, which may be an avatar. With your VR headset turned on, it doesn’t matter what environment you’re currently in. Your vision is fully immersed in the virtual world no matter which direction you look, and with the headset on, your voice is fully in sync with that world as well. The simulated environment may not resemble the real world because it is impossible to create a realistic experience, such as in a fighter pilot simulation or training, or it may differ significantly from reality, such as in virtual reality games.

This created a lot of danger in the early days of VR in the home, where the user would trip over furniture or walk into walls. Now, most experiences start withdrawing “guard lines” around the safe play area that you can see in VR when you physically get close to it. However, one problem that remains unresolved is the motion sickness-like symptoms that some people develop as a result of being inside virtual reality. 

Virtual reality is not as new a concept as you might think. It was trialed in the early 1960s for military training, and the first consumer products started arriving in the 1990s. However, these devices were large and expensive, with a limited catalog of experiments. The initial huge, limited, and expensive VR hardware had some success in arcade gaming, and you can still find VR games today.

Virtual reality (VR) technology has finally gained mainstream attention thanks to increasingly powerful glasses and an affordable price, along with a growing catalog of games and apps. VIVE, Meta, and Sony PlayStation all have VR headsets on the market for under $1000. Keep in mind that VR isn’t just for games, and it’s not just for consumers. Increasingly sophisticated headsets are gaining traction in enterprises and industries for virtual prototyping, remote collaboration, and other practical use cases. This also applies to education and medicine.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) refers to devices that combine components of the real world with virtual aspects placed on them. It is a technology based on the projection of virtual objects and information into the user’s real environment to provide additional information or act as a vector for him, in contrast to virtual reality, which is based on the projection of real objects in a virtual environment. This can take the form of identifying a plant, object, or word in a foreign language, thanks to computer recognition. Or it could be the temperature of an object or the distance between two objects as measured by sensors on your device. Or maybe they’re just fun game characters appearing in our real environments.

The user can manage information and virtual objects in augmented reality through different devices, whether they are portable, such as a smartphone, or wearable, such as glasses and contact lenses, and all these devices use a tracking system that provides an accurate projection and visualization of the information in the appropriate place, such as a global positioning system, camera, or compass, as input to interact with through applications.

Right now, most of us are experimenting with augmented reality by using a phone’s camera to view the “real world” in a virtual overlay, although many are eager to buy smart glasses that will make the technology work hands-free. When Google announced Glass in 2012, the world really didn’t know what to make of it. The device had limited features and applications, and this prevented some users from using augmented reality forever. However, eyewear has found a place in the enterprise, and more powerful and versatile devices are arriving in both the consumer and business markets.

The display and network technology behind AR smart glasses have come a long way since 2012, paving the way for devices like the smart glasses we see in movies. It also doesn’t help that Google Glass falls into the niche XR category, which is easy to confuse with augmented reality. This is called “reality assisting.” 

What is assisted reality?

Assisted reality places digital screens in front of you, but these digital elements are not inserted into or superimposed on the real environment. It’s only in your field of vision. Again, if you have the ability to use Google Glass, it has a clock and notification center that you can see on screen, but this information hasn’t been gleaned from the environment or put into context. It was just there.

This may sound very boring. Compared to other terms, it is. But that doesn’t make it useless. Augmented reality plays a huge role in the industry, as it is used to a great extent for remote assistance. The wearer of the glasses can watch a remote expert’s live broadcast, and the remote expert can watch the live video stream from the glasses. This allows the expert to literally see things from the wearer’s point of view and give guidance and advice.

What is “reduced reality”?

Augmented reality (DR) is a type of augmented reality that uses computer vision to remove physical objects from a screen. This is perhaps the least known form of the XR, although it may be more common than you think. This is because, while DR is rarely the end goal of an experiment, it is often an intermediate step.

For example, if you’ve ever seen an augmented reality recreation of a historical scene, chances are augmented reality was used to remove features of the modern landscape before it was used to show historical features that may no longer be part of the scene. In this way, DR also plays an important role in industries such as architecture and photography because it can be used to virtually remove objects before the shovel is lifted.

Reduced reality is also being increasingly used in mobile phone cameras to enhance images by removing distractions from photographic backgrounds. Another way you may have experienced DR without realizing it

What is mixed reality?

What comes right in the middle of augmented reality and virtual reality is mixed reality (MR). MR is the last of the three ideas and describes when the virtual environment interacts with the real environment. This differs from augmented reality, which only covers the virtual aspects. In MR, virtual aspects actually interact with physical space and physical objects. In one sense, you could argue that MR is a more advanced subset of AR.

Mixed reality, or hybrid reality, is the creation of a new reality by blending a realistic environment with a virtual environment, which allows mixing real objects with electronically produced objects and also allows the user to deal with all objects, regardless of their type. Mixed reality can occur in real reality as well as in the virtual world. It is a mixture of facts and assumptions.

For example, Microsoft’s HoloLens display or Magic Leap headphones let you see holograms sitting at your table, floating in front of you, or hanging on a wall. MR is based on virtual interfaces that blend seamlessly with their surroundings. It’s not just an AR overlay or a Zoom call, like augmented reality. This requires advanced display technology and processing, so at present, most MRs are priced out of reach for consumers.

What does the future hold for extended reality?

Recent developments are blurring the lines between these different visions of reality. At the Spring 2021 Microsoft Ignite event, a real-time volumetric video by Alex Kipman appeared in AltspaceVR, upending our understanding of augmented reality.

The words we use to describe things are constantly changing as we invent new things, and old things become unusable. Today we talk about AR, VR, and MR, but tomorrow there could be something completely new.