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What Is The Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

We often hear from our clients that they are intrigued by what we do. They have heard how fast the VR market is growing,  the technology is improving, and applications are being developed for training, education, and entertainment. One of the first questions we usually get is what is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality? In this article we will discuss AR and VR and attempt to provide some clarifications as to the differences.  


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Are Both Growing Rapidly Before we jump into the differences, we wanted to point out that AR and VR development are both going strong. According to Kenneth Research, the Global Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality market are expected to reach $167.89 billion by 2026. 




What is augmented reality?


At its core, augmented reality is all about adding virtual items to your field of vision. A good example is provided by The United States Army. They are providing soldiers with a technology called “Tactical Augmented Reality” (TAR). It is essentially an eyepiece that helps soldiers precisely locate their positions as well as the locations of others—both friend and foe.


The way it works is by using smart glasses. These are transparent, which means you can see the world in front of you just like you would with a pair of sunglasses. However, the technology projects images over the location you are looking at. This allows you to have a data overlay or something more complicated like am hologram in your field of vision and an item you can interact with.


With Augmented Reality, You don’t have visual immersion, because it’s not an entirely new world created from scratch. It’s just the real world with added elements. It’s a great idea because you get to add all kinds of content to the real world.   In addition,  you can create AR apps that harness the technology and power of your phone to see locations in real life with the ability to add in data items. This can be great for virtual tours, games, applications and many other uses.  



What is Virtual Reality?


With Virtual Reality the power of this technology is harnessed by using a headset such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. These headsets block out your visual surroundings and have dedicated OLED or LCD panels that use refraction to fill your entire field of vision. Right from the start, you are fully immersed in the world right in front of you, and you can start exploring and enjoying that location without any worries. 

As the name suggests, you are now in a virtual world and you are free to explore it the way you want. The sense of immersion is great, but you are stuck in the virtual world and you can easily trip over objects in the real world if you’re not careful. You can use virtual reality for entertainment, but it’s also widely used for simulations too. It can also be great for educational use.


Lowe's: Holoroom Is An Example of Virtual Reality Lowe’s knows the challenge their customers may face when buying a home from financing to decorating. To help provide some assistance, in many of their stores, they created a Holoroom to provide a  VR experience. The Holoroom has been reported to be of valuable assistance to many of Lowe's customers who desire to renovate their own homes. A virtual skills-training clinic that uses HTC Vive headsets was created to guide participants through a visual, educational experience on the how-to of home improvement.


We Are Often Asked Is AR or VR Better?

It’s easy to see that AR and VR are serving different kinds of purposes. While virtual reality is all about offering a sense of immersion into a virtual world, augmented reality just enhances what’s in front of you. 

Depending on your situation and goals one might be preferable over the other. Both AR and VR are amazing technologies that continue to improve on a regular basis and are full of extraordinary features. Select the best one to suit your needs, and you will get to interact with new worlds and develop amazing new applications for others.

In-Depth Research on The Differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

As we mentioned above, if you really want to get a deep understanding of AR and VR technology, have a look at the report by Kenneth Research. The report is detailed in 164 Pages, 82 Tables, and 74 Figures.


The AR and VR Market is analyzed by technology, component, device type, industry, vertical, end-user and region.


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