Many people use the term ‘virtual reality’ to include augmented reality or mixed reality. However, there are many important differences between the three. Let us look at a few of them.
Let us first look at virtual reality, understand what it is, and then see how augmented reality and mixed reality are different from it. Virtual reality refers to experiencing a virtual environment that has been created using, and generated by, computers. This experience can be very immersive and realistic, but the virtual environment is very much an ‘illusion’ and doesn’t really exist. While experiencing virtual reality, the ‘real world’ is cut off from the user – in a way, the virtual world completely ‘eclipses’ the real world. Knowing this important characteristic of virtual reality will make it very easy to understand how augmented reality and mixed reality are different from it.
While the virtual world cuts off the real world in virtual reality, augmented reality doesn’t block off the real world entirely like virtual reality does, but is more of a digital overlay. Apps which turn smart-phones into augmented reality devices include Star Walk and iOnRoad. The digital overlay of information in augmented reality makes it a very useful tool. For instance, augmented reality can be used as a training tool, as GPS-enabled displays, etc. Now let us look at mixed reality. Augmented reality applications which are pocket-sized can be easily carried around, but requires one to hold the handset to experience the effect – the computing power driving these applications may also be not very high.
Compare this to virtual reality where the device is worn around the head or held over the eyes, and may require high-powered gear for a very immersive experience. Mixed reality is the technology that aims to serve as the bridge between these two technologies. It is a technology that integrates digital content with the real world. The user can get to decide how much digital content they want. A user can go for a complete digital experience, like virtual reality, or they can choose a combination of digital and real, like augmented reality. Mixed reality is also driven by powerful computers with sensors for generating visuals which are highly convincing.
Now it is easy to see how augmented reality and mixed reality are different from virtual reality while being very closely related, which is why ‘virtual reality’ is often used to refer to all three technologies. Virtual reality is a technology that has applications across various fields – medicine, entertainment, real estate, etc. In fact, virtual reality can be an extremely valuable tool for the growth and promotion of your business. A reputed virtual reality company can help you use virtual reality for the growth and promotion of your business. Before choosing a virtual reality company, make sure that their team has the necessary skills and experience. This will make sure that you can expect the best results from the company – right from advanced visualization, 360 videography, virtual tours, panorama photography to virtual reality knowledge transfer solutions.