Virtual vs. Augmented Reality in Detail


One of the most popular questions we have heard at our virtual reality store has by far been concerning the differences between augmented and virtual reality, what can you use each for, and which is going to be the future?


To quickly answer the latter of these questions, augmented reality and virtual reality alike are BOTH going to be powerhouses in the future of technology as new ways to implement both of these revolutionary technologies are being discovered constantly.


As for the remaining questions, this takes a little bit of a deeper dive into what exactly each of these forms of technology consist of. For starters, AR and VR are not the same. While their technologies do bleed over into one another to an extent, they are two completely different concepts with characteristics that readily distinguish them from each other.

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality, like the name hints toward, involves putting on a VR headset to have your vision completely taken over, giving you the impression that you are somewhere else entirely — an alternate, virtual reality. The Shinecon Virtual Reality Headset and other virtual reality headsets are completely opaque, meaning your surroundings are completely blocked out when wearing them.


When you put on a VR headset and turn it on, the LCD or OLED panels inside are refracted by the lenses to completely fill your field of vision, similar to binoculars. Virtual reality equipment is used for a wide variety of applications but is focused mostly around the entertainment aspect that it brings to the table, which is the what we provide them for in our virtual reality store at VRWoke. From games to 360-degree movies, videos, and more, you can be taken away to entirely new worlds through the wonders of virtual reality. These virtual reality devices also feature a technology known as 6DOF motion controllers, which lets you move in a variety of directions within the virtual space and what you see will be altered just as if you are looking at the sights in the real world.


For both games and mobile apps, virtual reality completely supersedes your surroundings, taking you to entirely new and different places. Where you are physically when you put on a VR headset doesn’t matter, besides that it should be somewhere open where you are free to look around and explore from within your virtual reality gear. In VR games, you might sit in the cockpit of a starfighter, chase zombies, or dodge obstacles. In VR apps, you will virtually tour exotic locations as if you were really there. The possibilities are truly endless in terms of the applications of virtual reality, and they all involve replacing the world around you with a new, virtual environment.


What Is Augmented Reality?

The key difference between these two major new forms of “reality” that have come to fruition is that virtual reality replaces your vision whereas augmented reality adds to it. Augmented reality devices, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, the Shinecon AR headset, and countless others, are not opaque like their VR counterparts. Rather, they are transparent so that your smartphone’s camera is still put into use, and you look through your mobile device as if it were a pair of sunglasses.


AR technology is designed to allow completely free movement within your environment while projecting digital, augmented visuals over items that you look at. A great example of this technology is the app that has stirred up quite a craze in recent years, Pokemon Go. This AR game allows you to roam your city where in certain locations, items could be found when looking through an augmented reality headset, making for a virtual scavenger hunt of sorts.


The potential of augmented reality to be used in a diverse array of applications is just as great, if not greater, than virtual reality. An AR display can offer something as simple as a data overlay that projects the time or temperature to as complex as virtual furniture displays as IKEA has put into use for marketing their products. Augmented reality spans more into the business sector than virtual reality as, like IKEA, more and more businesses are determining ways of implementing this technology into their overall offerings and marketing tactics.


The one disadvantage to augmented reality devices when being compared to virtual reality gear is the visual immersion factor. While VR completely replaces your field of vision with a virtual realm, AR apps only show up on your mobile device or tablet’s screen. It’s not near as immersive of an experience having the technology confined to the small rectangle, but when using an augmented reality headset rather than simply moving around your phone, it can still provide a relatively similar, immersive experience for users. At the end of the day, we are all so immersed in our screens at this point that this should not inhibit the growth of this new technology.


The Difference Between AR and VR

In general, virtual reality and augmented reality exist to accomplish two very different things in two incredibly different manners — despite all of the aspects of their design and technology that may make them seem similar to new prospective users. They are both powerful technologies that will continue to make their mark in today’s society as they begin to be implemented in more and more ways. While many people view them as a competition, at our virtual reality store, VRWoke, we see the benefits of both and believe that everyone should have access to these incredible new worlds of technology.


If you’re ready to expand your horizons and Get Woke, browse our virtual and augmented reality devices in our online virtual reality store today.