Virtual Reality Vs. Augmented Reality – Difference Between

Virtual Reality Vs Augmented Reality

Technology is advancing faster than we can ever imagine. Technology available now would not have possibly existed 10 years ago. With ultra HD video, high speed networks, 4K 3D displays and now virtual reality PC gaming, the possibilities just keep growing and growing. Virtual Reality is the trend among developers and gaming enthusiasts these says due to the release of the consumer editions of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. With the growing popularity of VR and AR, many people can’t exactly distinguish the differences between them.

Virtual Reality Vs. Augmented Reality – Difference Between

Virtual Reality Vs Augmented Reality

If you are new to virtual reality and augmented reality, or you want to know what each technology actually delivers, here is a summary of what VR and AR are and the differences between them:


What is Virtual Reality?


Virtual Reality - VR
Virtual Reality – VR

Virtual Reality, also known as computer-simulated reality, or VR for short, is an artificial and computer generated recreation of a real-life environment or situation. It immerses a person by tricking the person, through stimulating vision and hearing, into thinking that the virtual environment is real. Thus the name Virtual Reality.

Many people are familiar with VR by the names of Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and HTC Vive etc. which are some real examples of hardware which can generate a virtual environment.

Virtual Reality is mostly being used for:

  • Video gaming and entertainment through head-mounted displays and motion controllers like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard, PlayStation VR etc.
  • To put people in a simulated environment for training and practicing purposes, for example surgeons, pilots in flight simulators or army soldiers in training.

Don’t forget to read our “Real World Applications of Virtual Reality” article.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality - AR
Augmented Reality – AR

Augmented Reality, or AR, is the technology that displays computer generated objects on real life images. In other words, its purpose is to blend real life and digital components. In AR, real life environment and computer generated imagery can be distinguished from each other. Many smartphone games use this technology by taking image or video from the camera and displaying a digital generated image on it.

Score overlays in sports telecasts, holograms, Microsoft HoloLens and Google Glass are some examples of AR. When you are wearing Microsoft HoloLens or Google Glass, you see a menu or some user interface over whatever you are seeing in the real world.

The Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

VR and AR’s main purpose is to immerse the user, but through different ways. When you know what exactly VR and AR are, you can easily point out the differences. With AR, users can interact with virtual objects in a real life environment, while in VR the user interacts with an entirely computer generated environment. VR may be mostly used for entertainment purposes, but AR can be used for purposes other than entertainment. For example, holograms, presentations or even museum tours.

The differences between virtual reality and augmented can also be explained by examples from pop culture. The Matrix in “The Matrix series” in virtual reality, whereas Iron Man’s heads-up display is augmented reality.

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