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What are the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality?

By | Virtual Reality

In 1935 Stanley G. Weinbaum wrote a science fiction story called ‘Pygmalion’s spectacles’. Although the exact origins of virtual reality are something specialists do not quite agree on, they do actually agree that Weinbaum’s work is the first modern reference to virtual reality.

But, what does virtual reality consist of? What makes it different from augmented reality? Both concepts are often used mistakenly and at forma we would like to define each of their scopes. Let’s start!

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality creates non-existent worlds. Also known as VR, virtual reality is where you completely dive into a virtual world. What does this mean exactly? It means that virtual reality allows a comprehensive sensory experience within an artificial environment, seeing nothing from the outer world.

How can we dive into a virtual reality world? It’s very simple. It happens thaks to these two elements:

  • A pair of virtual reality glasses
  • A headset

The glasses must be specially designed to present the virtual reality world. Plus, a screen set up right in front of the glasses’ user eyes is required. There are two types of glasses at the moment:

  • Those with integrated screen: Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC vive PRO, HTC Focus.
  • Those requiring a Smartphone to work as a screen: Gear VR de Samsung, Day dreams y CardBoard.

Let’s have a look at what augmented reality consists of now.

Augmented Reality

This technology aims to complement a real environment with digital objects. When talking about augmented reality, we do not mean diving into a brand new artificial world, but fulfilling the world surrounding us.

Augmented reality is also achieved with special glasses, a helmet or a mobile phone lenses. Google Glass would be an example of glasses showing augmented reality, with a transparent glass that allows the people wearing them to see what they have around them.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are similar, but not the same: what are the actual differences between them?

  1. Virtual reality is a different reality and augmented reality transforms the current one.
  2. Virtual and augmented reality always require a device to be represented.
  3. Virtual reality is more complex than augmented reality, although there seems to be a trend change. The device required for the users immersion is often a limitation for this type of reality; as devices technological development evolves, VR broadens its scope of action.