They’re two of the latest technologies sweeping the globe, but what exactly is the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality? Although very similar, they are different in their own rights and each one provides a unique experience for its users. If you’re unsure of the difference between VR and AR, or you’re thinking they were essentially the same thing, you’re not alone! Many people are confused by these terms.
Simply put, the main difference between VR and AR is that VR is solely a virtual world experience, whereas AR allows users to view virtual aspects added to their real world. In this guide, we’ll help you discover all the key differences between VR and AR, and even help you decide which one might be right for you.
What is VR?
Virtual reality (VR) is computer-based technology that uses audio and video through a wearable headset (e.g. VR goggles). It helps users to experience a real-world scenario at the hands of a VR device. VR can put users in situations that aren’t real simply by putting on a headset. This headset transports the user to a virtual world which will feel very real. There are various systems out there, from high-end headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, to lower-end purchases like Google Cardboard.
What is AR?
Augmented reality mixes the real world with a virtual world, in contrast to VR that is solely a virtual world. AR is often achieved by using a smartphone app, a prime example of this being the Pokemon Go game that took the world by storm in 2016. This game allowed users to see pokemon in the real world through their smartphone. Users were able to catch the pokemon, bringing the 90s game and TV show to life!
AR vs VR – which is better and how are they used?
Now we’ve been over the key differences, you’re probably asking yourself which is better – AR or VR? This completely depends on the experience the user wants to achieve. If you’re looking to escape the real world for a short while, perhaps to play a game or even virtually ride a rollercoaster, then VR is for you.
VR can be used for just-for-fun purposes, allowing users to play games and experience scenarios they perhaps wouldn’t experience in day to day life. VR is also being utilised in the sports industry to improve player performance and fan experiences, and businesses are even using it to engage clients in business meetings. The possibilities for VR appear to be endless.
AR can also be used for fun, with many AR experiences being games or apps like Pokemon Go, but it can also be used in other industries. For example, the education industry has embraced AR by allowing flashcards and educational reading material to be flashed into a student’s real-time environment. In addition to this, architectural industries have been using AR for years in the form of computer-generated images to display structures they have designed.
What does the future hold for VR and AR?
AR and VR have both been around for over 30 years, with military and passenger pilots utilising them in the form of flights simulators and head-mounted displays. But what’s next?
AR is dominated by smartphone technology at the moment, but it’s possible more independent AR devices, such as headsets, will be available for purchase in the future. VR is arguably much further along the development line than AR with personal VR headsets dominating the market.
Choosing the right VR kit
If you’re ready to take the leap into the world of VR, you’ll need to decide how much you want to spend. If you’d like to invest in a high-end VR headset, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Sony PlayStation VR are all great choices. However, there are also options for small-medium sized budgets, such as Google Cardboard or the Samsung Gear headset.
Add the finishing touch to your VR kit with one of our protective VR cases. Carefully designed to completely waterproof and dustproof your VR equipment, we have cases for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, such as our Dave HTC Vive case and our Peli Oculus Rift Case. There’s no better way to protect your VR kit than with one of our rugged and sturdy VR cases.