Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality: how are they different?

Surely we have all heard, on more than one occasion, about Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. Is it so? Both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are technologies that are in the spotlight. And it is that, how can we not talk about a device that transforms the reality in which we find ourselves, or can even transport us to new realities? To all this, without leaving home and with the only help of a helmet, glasses or simply through our mobile phone.

There are many possibilities offered by both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and not only in the computer, cinematic or video game world. These applications also allow us to explore new solutions in fields such as education, medicine or even in the day-to-day of any company. But, before thinking about how we can apply these new technologies to our companies or in our reality, let’s start with the most important thing, the principle: What exactly are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? And what differences exist between them?

What is virtual reality?

Virtual Reality, known especially by its acronym in English (VR = Virtual Reality) is the creation of a completely virtual and immersive new world, which we can visualize and with which we can interact through a helmet or virtual reality glasses. As its name indicates, the objective of Virtual Reality is the visualization of a new reality created in a fictitious world and in an artificial way. Namely, a world is created from scratch, in which we can enter immersively and completely distance ourselves from reality.

“In Virtual Reality, the created reality is displayed in a new world, completely digital.”

A very clear example is the virtual reality movieswhere viewers can be part of the staging of the film, as if we were one of the protagonists.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented Reality (also known as AR = Augmented Reality) is the combination of our real world with the virtual world: through a technological device, such as our mobile phone, we can observe new realities around us. In other words, the objective of Augmented Reality is the visualization of new information, added to our reality through artificial creations. The world we already know expands to offer us new visual experiences.

“In Augmented Reality, the created reality is displayed in our world, completely real.”

Another obvious example is the game that revolutionized Augmented Reality in 2016PokémonGO, where through our mobile phone we could visualize the characters of the game and “capture” them in the real world.

Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality And which is better?

In fact, there is no technology better than another. Both virtual reality and augmented reality are characterized by being very similar technologies, but complementary at the same time, because each one can help us in different situations.

  • The applications of Virtual reality they focus especially on living new experiences and interacting with them. We can apply this technology to education, to the simulation of dangerous situations or even to display advanced information, among other examples, with the aim that users can see the information in a much clearer and more detailed way in a completely virtual environment. , creating a much more effective learning experience.
  • On the contrary, Augmented Reality applications help us solve or improve situations that we can find in our day to day. The Augmented reality it can help us to have more information when we visit a museum, to know if the sofa we want to buy is going to look good in our living room, as well as it can help companies in the logistics sector to have better control of their warehouses.
Combination between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Mixed Reality

It is clear that, Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are characterized by the possibility of making us change our way of seeing and interacting with reality., although the application of the new information is very different. And just when we were starting to get familiar with these two new technological applications, a third reality appears: mixed reality.

As the name suggests, Mixed reality is a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality. A combination of both technologies that allows us to create virtual reality objects and scenarios with which to interact in the real world; or interact with objects and scenarios from the real world through the virtual world. And not only that, the user’s experience can also be recorded by mixing their reality (what they can see through mixed reality), with our reality (what is happening at the moment in the real world). Mixed reality is the latest addition to these new realities and is a technology still under construction. Even so, mixed reality promises to be the one that will normalize both virtual reality and augmented reality in our daily lives, in the not too distant future.

Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are new technologies that, beyond the computer world and video games, play a great role in our increasingly digital world, helping in sectors such as medicine, logistics or education. And although we still have a long way to go, these technologies will facilitate our daily routines and, in short, will mean a great change in how we perceive our reality, in all senses and in any type of situation.