Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) may sound like science fiction, but they are becoming a daily part of the reality we live in. Put simply, these technologies superimpose digital information on top of what you see and hear in the real world around you. They can be used for video games, for work, for social interactions and more.
- 1 Virtual reality (VR) is an experiential medium
- 2 Headsets are a fancy goggle that keep the user immmersed in virtual reality
- 3 VR is used to improve mental health and to train people
- 4 Augmented reality (AR) runs on your phone
- 5 Augmented reality adds virtual elements, but maintains the real environment the user is in
- 6 AR can be used to improve shopping experiences
- 7 When you know about all the good things that come with technology, it’s easier to use it without fear!
- 8 Bottom Line
Virtual reality (VR) is an experiential medium
Virtual reality (VR) is an experiential medium. Characterized by a set of goggles that completely covers the eyes, the user is rendered unable to see the real world and is instead presented with a computer-generated environment that feels physically realistic. VR can be used for entertainment, or for training in fields such as medicine or airplane maintenance. The technology has also been shown to be effective in treating mental health issues like phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Headsets are a fancy goggle that keep the user immmersed in virtual reality
In order to keep its users immersed in a virtual world, a VR headset uses internal sensors to track head movements. This is crucial because it ensures that the visuals are always adjusted appropriately for what you’re seeing. Imagine if you were walking down a street in a virtual world, and then started looking up towards the sky; instead of seeing the top floors of buildings, you’d continue to see the sidewalk. It would completely break your suspension of disbelief and make you acutely aware that you’re staring at a screen on your face. The technology used by VR headsets to track such movements also prevents users from accidentally bumping into things while they roam around their virtual worlds, as they’ll feel like they’ve run into an object even though there’s nothing physically there.
VR headsets can be used for gaming or for training purposes. For instance, doctors can use them to practice surgical procedures on virtual patients before operating on real ones. They can also be used by people with mental health issues or phobias; for instance, someone with arachnophobia could participate in a program where they’re slowly introduced to spiders in a safe space using VR before being confronted with real-life spiders.
VR is used to improve mental health and to train people
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are used to improve mental health and train people to prepare for real-life situations.
- VR is used to help people deal with depression, phobias, and other mental health issues. Once immersed in a virtual environment, the brain responds as if it were real. This is effective for treating conditions like depression because in a largely safe environment, patients with anxiety can confront their fears without fearing for their lives.
- VR can be used to train pilots, surgeons, and astronauts so that when they perform those tasks in real life, they will have already done them many times before.
- VR is also being used to improve the lives of the elderly by helping them travel again or enjoy cultural events they might not be able to attend otherwise.
Augmented reality (AR) runs on your phone
- In order to use AR, you typically have to have a smartphone or a tablet (a device that uses the iOS or Android operating system).
- AR is a technology that overlays virtual objects onto real-world environments. When it works well, it can seem as though these virtual things are actually part of your everyday world.
- Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will make AR even more useful because the computer will be able to recognize what’s around you and do things automatically.
- AR is often used for marketing or advertising purposes. For example, in an app like Pokémon Go, players might find virtual monsters at their local coffee shop or their favorite bar. The point of the game is to get people out exploring—and spending money—as they look for creatures to capture. Or when you’re buying something online and looking in your size section, some stores offer an AR feature so you can see how the clothes would fit on someone who looks like you before making a purchase decision
Augmented reality adds virtual elements, but maintains the real environment the user is in
Augmented reality, or AR, is more of an overlay than a replacement. It adds virtual elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. This live view can be similar to that of direct view augmented reality or video see-through augmented reality. Direct view uses the mobile device’s display in order to show the digital components, while video see-through uses the camera on a mobile device in order to capture the real-world elements. AR app developers must decide which live view works best for their particular application.
AR and virtual reality are definitely related, but they are not synonymous with one another. Both use computer-generated simulations in order to produce a different experience than what users would get from interacting with real people and things within their lives, whether by seeing them or hearing them.
While VR replaces your natural environment with a computer-generated simulation of some other place (say outer space), AR augments your current surroundings with additional sensory input in addition to what you would normally perceive (like seeing cartoon characters standing around your living room). This means that if you were wearing an AR headset while walking down a sidewalk, you’d still be able to hear cars driving past you and smell whatever was cooking at nearby restaurants, just as if you weren’t wearing any special equipment at all—it’d just look like there were floating basketball nets hovering above every street lamp along your route!
If VR is completely immersive and takes over your senses completely until it feels like real life has ceased altogether then AR might seem less immersive because it doesn’t replace all of those external stimuli but rather adds some additional ones on top of everything else happening around us already so we’re still aware that what’s happening isn’t inevitably true; there’s no way anyone could believe this new layer was anything more than just another part of their own consciousness being projected outward into space for everyone else too see too (even though only those who have chosen to wear
AR can be used to improve shopping experiences
One of the most innovative ways that companies are using AR is to improve shopping experiences. Retailers like Ikea and Wayfair, for example, have released apps that allow users to view products in their own homes. Customers can use these apps to see how furniture or other large objects will look in the space they already have, gaining a sense of size and scale before purchasing. These “virtual showroom” apps also offer 3D views of products so users can see them from every angle.
Other retailers are experimenting with different ways of using AR for fashion purposes. For example, some clothing companies now let consumers virtually try on clothes by digitally superimposing garments onto photos or videos of themselves. Sephora lets customers test out makeup products by viewing them on their own faces through the company’s mobile app. Others ask customers to point their phones at a certain item—say, a pair of shoes—and then show what those shoes would look like in different colors or patterns, allowing them to take a closer look at every option before making a decision
When you know about all the good things that come with technology, it’s easier to use it without fear!
You’re right to worry that VR/AR might not live up to the hype, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. When you know about all the good things that come with technology, it’s easier to use it without fear!
We’re at the beginning of the VR/AR revolution. As with all new technologies, there are lots of interesting problems to solve. Many of the apps we use today will eventually be VR/AR. In fact, I predict that within a decade you’ll experience most of your everyday life through AR glasses or a contact lens as opposed to through a smartphone and computer screen. The future is indeed bright for virtual and augmented reality!
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the most exciting technologies in recent years. Both are preparing for a boom over the next few years, but there is a lot already available to consumers. If you want to get involved with creating content, you can start with some of the tools provided for free or cheap by Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.