Over the last few years, I have seen a few people getting confused between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). So I thought my introductions on these terms will help clear the confusion.
Virtual Reality is experiencing real worlds virtually. It means tricking our senses into feeling. Unclear, right? Let me give an example, how about experiencing a ride on roller coaster without actually going to amusement park because you are afraid to take a real ride. Isn’t that exciting!! Now, let’s improve the thrilling experience. How about going on a roller coaster ride over Mount Everest instead of doing it in a park? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful experience? Exactly! That’s what I am talking about. The amazing thing about VR technology is that we can experience environments that are impossible or difficult to access without actually going anywhere. These environments are computer generated in 3D and can be experienced by wearing a head mounted display (HMD).
Do you want to experience it for real? Why not pay a visit to Smaash, Inorbit, Hyderabad ? I bet you will be immersed in the roller coaster ride.
I will keep VR to this point for now.
Augmented Reality is adding/augmenting something on top of real objects. I usually don’t tell people what AR is, instead I show them. Showing it is much simpler than explaining what it is. But for now, I will give an example first. Imagine you are in a shopping mall and want to find out where the Apple Store is, what do you do? If Indoor maps are available for the mall, you will probably check them first. Or, how about having a person help you find the route to an Apple Store? Now imagine instead of somebody, your mobile app is doing the same and directing you to the Apple Store. Oh, you thought I am talking about indoor maps again, but this time on a mobile? Certainly, no! I am talking about you wearing a HMD or having a mobile app, showing you the directions on your HMD or mobile app in real time when you are in the mall directing your way based upon your current location.
So, in short Augmented Reality is adding/augmenting something on top of real objects. It could be as I have mentioned above in my example, a map route or a YouTube video or a voice or a song or a movie, plain contextual information etc., floating on top of the real objects. Let’s foresee the future, when one day, you can easily identify who the other person standing right in front of you is using AR technology.
I will keep AR to this point for now.