What Difference Augmented Reality Virtual Reality Examples

The difference between virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are often mentioned in the same breath - but why? How do the two technologies differ and what do they have in common?

What is the difference between augmented reality (left) and virtual reality (right)?

How do virtual and augmented reality differ?

In order to find the roots of virtual and augmented reality, we first have to travel back to the middle of the 20th century, when the first experiments around virtual reality began. The first concrete design of a VR system goes back to Morton Heilig in 1956, only a few years later Ivan Sutherland set another milestone in the development of virtual reality with the invention of the first VR glasses.

The first steps towards AR took place around 20 years later, when a prototype in the development of augmented reality is the “Super Cockpit”, a helmet that expanded the pilot's view with additional information.

And with this we are already approaching the central difference between virtual and augmented reality in big steps: While with AR the “real” reality is supplemented with virtual elements, with Virtual Reality we hide them and instead immerse ourselves completely in the virtual world.

Even with the current hype about the two technologies, virtual reality was initially a step faster, as the great media interest arose here with the presentation of the VR glasses Oculus Rift in 2012. The breakthrough for augmented reality came with the game Pokémon Go about four years later, in the summer of 2016.

Delimitation based on the Reality-Virtuality-Continuum

This becomes even clearer with a look at the Reality-Virtuality-Continuum according to Milgram et al., Which shows the transition between the real and the virtual world:

Milgram's reality-virtuality continuum helps to differentiate between virtual and augmented reality

The continuum encompasses the entire spectrum between the real world and the virtual world. In the area in between, the so-called “mixed reality”, are augmented reality and virtuality. But let's look at it again in detail:

Real world (left)

The real world on the left side of the reality-virtuality continuum describes the here and now, so to speak. Our reality in which we live and where the laws of physics apply. However, 360 ° videos can also be classified here, which ultimately represent a digital image of this real world. (See also Are 360 ​​Degree Videos Virtual Reality?)

Example of “Reality Capture” with 360 ° photography

At omnia360, we have specialized in making the real world a virtual experience and we are accordingly moving with our portfolio in the area of ​​“Reality Capture”. This means that we record the real data of buildings with 360 ° cameras (and 3D scanners) and then process them in such a way that they can be explored digitally on a PC, smartphone or with VR glasses. The example here shows a virtual tour to market a holiday home.

Virtual world (right)

In contrast, the virtual world at the right end of the continuum exclusively from virtual objects. This refers to objects that do not physically exist, but are present in their functionality or effect. You can think of a perfect virtual world as that matrix imagine in which, taken to the extreme, the entire environment is computer-generated.

A virtual world can be viewed as a place that does not physically exist but is simulated by a computer system. To Virtual reality it becomes when it can be experienced immersively, e.g. with VR glasses (see also What is Virtual Reality?)

Example for "Virtual Reality"

The following demo video illustrates the principle of the virtual world: In the VR application for the real estate industry, the user explores an apartment that is based on rendered image material and does not yet exist. With the VR glasses he is completely immersed in the virtual environment, can interact with the controller and gets an impression of what his future property might look like before construction begins.

Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality and Augmented Virtuality

The Microsoft Hololens are AR glasses

The area between the two extreme points of the continuum is called Mixed reality ("Mixed reality") and characterized by the degree of virtuality. There real and virtual objects are combined with one another. This can be done either by enriching the real world with virtual objects (what is augmented reality?) Or by fading in real people or objects in the virtual world (Augmented Virtuality).

Viewed from left to right, the proportion of the real world decreases continuously and the proportion of virtuality increases accordingly.

While the term augmented virtuality is hardly used in the professional world, the terms augmented and mixed reality are often used synonymously. According to the Reality-Virtuality Continuum, however, they differ in that mixed reality describes the entire area between the two ends, while AR is closer to the real world and augmented virtuality is closer to the virtual world.

Example for "Augmented Reality"

Using our omnia360 AR app, we can clarify the principle of a mobile AR application: Here our omnia360 logo represents the AR marker. This is recognized by the smartphone camera so that the real business card is augmented by the displayed 3D model becomes.

In summary: similarities and differences between VR and AR

Phew, that was pretty scientific now, wasn't it?

In practice, it usually helps to take a look at the following criteria to better distinguish between virtual and augmented reality:

  • While Virtual reality completely hides the real world so that the user can immerse himself in the virtual environment, reality remains Augmented reality will continue to exist and will only be supplemented by virtual elements.

Immersive media

  • Immersion is a core element of virtual and augmented reality, as we can immersively immerse ourselves in the content with the help of the respective technology. This is why VR and AR are also called "Immersive Media" designated.

VR and AR glasses

The Oculus Rift is a VR headset

  • While with virtual reality, as a rule Head-mounted displays are used as an output device (e.g. with the VR glasses “Oculus Rift”), Augmented Reality can also be consumed in this way (e.g. with the AR glasses “Microsoft Hololens”), but smartphones, tablets or PCs can also be used as Output device can be used.

Forecast: VR vs AR

    • With regard to their market development, augmented reality is said to have a higher market potential. VR will probably not even begin to reach the size of the smartphone market, because the technology is aimed at a more restricted group of people consisting of gamers and young, tech-savvy consumers. For AR, on the other hand, there are numerous other fields of activity due to the location-independent usage options and the simple integration options into the everyday life of consumers.
    • Just as smartphones and tablets already enable the population to access information and useful functions at any point in time, the direct integration of the virtual elements into the real environment could result in accelerated and intuitive information acquisition and AR thus have a significant influence than on information processing - and exercise media usage behavior (VR and AR as digital communication media).
    • Here you can find out more about AR marketing and VR marketing and of course you can also book a VR workshop or a keynote on the topic: Contact!