Curious about the difference between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)? They’re more like technology cousins than twins. We break it down for you.
Augmented Reality (AR) vs. Virtual Reality (VR) vs. Mixed Reality (MR) – A Quick Brief
From the time of View-Master’s thin cardboard discs that had seven stereoscopic 3D pairs of small color photographs to today’s VR and its close cousin AR, today’s technology has come a long way. We thank tech giants like Google, Samsung, Facebook, and many others for their heavy investments so that virtual and augmented reality are finding their way into our news feeds more and more frequently.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are talked about in the same breath. Despite having many things in common, VR and AR are not the same things. We will discuss the key differentiators, driving forces, and use cases for these three promising related technologies.
In this blog, we start by talking about the distinctions between VR, AR, and MR, and then take a smart trip back in time to see how VR/AR emerged. Conclusively, we will evaluate how they fit in today’s reality and how they may affect tomorrow’s.
What Is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual Reality is a simulated and immersive experience given by a device into our sight. It completely takes over our vision to provide us with the impression that we are somewhere else. Dream walking down the Champs-Elisée (Paris) while still sitting in your basement in San Francisco. You need a headset projecting you into a simulation via a viewfinder. That’s precisely what VR promises, and much more.
From true observation to complete immersion, the range of VR capabilities diversifies depending on the device and type of headset utilized. A user can interact with 3D objects in space by using remote control in sync with the mounted headset.
Evolution of VR Through Time
Let us focus on the immersive 360° experience VR aims to project us into by leaving aside the technicality. It is undeniable that virtual reality started from the “360-degree murals (or panoramic paintings) from the nineteenth century,” as quoted by the Virtual Reality Society on their History of Virtual Reality. From an early flight simulator in 1929 to the first VR Head Mounted Display of Morton in 1960, we traveled to a simulation inside The Matrix in 1999.
What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Just as the name suggests, Augmented Reality adds to our perception of the world by overlaying computer-generated graphics, images, or a set of interactive data. Whereas virtual reality replaces your vision, augmented reality adds to it. AR devices, such as the Microsoft HoloLens and various enterprise-level “smart glasses,” are transparent, letting you see everything in front of you as if you are wearing a weak pair of sunglasses.
A Brief History of AR
Recall a live NFL game in 1998, casting the first virtual yellow line marker to overlap map data to assist NASA flight simulations. AR has lived outside science fiction for many decades. Myron Kruger linked projectors and video cameras in an interactive environment back in 1974. It was the birth of AR as we know it today.
More recently, AR took a giant leap towards wider adoption at Apple’s WWDC 17 when AR development was introduced to the masses with ARKit, a development framework for augmented reality applications created for iPhones and iPads.
As AR apps are still new to the mass market, it is too early to tell how different these development kits are, except that they are specific to their own operating systems and core audiences.
Now that the two most prominent tech companies controlling 99% of the smartphone market have made such a public move behind augmented reality, we should be ready to see industries disrupted again.
What About Mixed Reality (MR)?
As the name says, mixed reality is a combination of VR and AR. It offers the best of both worlds. Its profoundly interactive aspect and the realistic rendering of the projection that it adds to the surroundings make it stand out. We can interact with the content using natural body and finger gestures instead of depending on remote controllers or phone screens. Google and Apple lead the way on AR technology. Today, MR landscape favors Microsoft (HoloLens) and massively funded Magic Leap.
Augmented reality (AR) – Facts
AR technology combines digital data with the concrete environment, live and in real-time. AR can blend real life with an image or animation using the camera on an AR headset or mobile device by adding graphics, sounds, haptic feedback, or even smell to the natural world as it exists. As part of the more comprehensive extended reality (XR) industry, the global AR market size is expected to grow considerably in the coming years.
AR is enabled using equipment such as headsets and glasses. AR glasses sales are expected to reach 410 thousand units in 2021, rising to 3.9 million by 2024, with purchases for use across the industry set to experience a dramatic surge.
Enterprise spending on AR glasses is forecast to grow from just over two billion U.S. dollars in 2021 to nearly 12 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. AR headset vendors such as Microsoft, Magic Leap, and Vuzix continue to innovate, developing devices that are helping to support the increased adoption of AR across a range of sectors. Statistics may vary due to change in data.
Bring amazing 3D events to life
Each VR tour is equipped with touchpoints. People can use their devices to click through national parks, museums, government buildings, and other places. They can select to learn more about the location. History classes studying ancient civilizations could visit the Roman Colosseum, and students in American literature courses can visit the Mark Twain house. These tours can be accessible with any VR headset. But the extra equipment is not required. People can view the tours using their tablet or laptop.
How to Use Virtual/AR During Events
This technology makes for an awe-inspiring addition to everything from birthday parties to high-profile conferences to trade presentations. Here’s what you can do:
Try lightweight and affordable entertainment. Visual effects glasses can turn any light into custom shapes. It doesn’t require an investment in complex equipment also. You may use branded hashtags and filters for your social media content. Snapchat is already doing this very successfully. You can create your own branded experience through photo and video options with the help of AR. You can use any VR device to tell stories about your brand or the origin of your products. It makes the viewer be an active participant while also forming an emotional bond, which all significant events do for their guests!
The average consumer can access products like Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift. They can enjoy immersive experiences even after they leave your booth or venue.
The only limitations to VR and AR in event planning lie in your imagination. The technology can be used in all types of the event planning process. They have proven to be good event additions from inception to creation for both the companies who use them and the attendees who benefit from them.
Improving Events with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Can Be Easy
Since you now know what these two great technologies are and their uses in your event planning and/or execution, it wise enough to integrate them more and more in the coming years. As you continue to use the technology, keep these critical points in mind:
VR and AR are all about creativity in terms of the content you share and using the technology. Try to add VR and AR to event elements you haven’t seen them used in before. These elements are practical and entertaining as well. This tech is surprisingly versatile, from boosting sales to training customer service reps. Do not be afraid to use it to the fullest by aligning your tools with your event goals.
Explore the leading brands and events for more motivation. There are more and more VR and AR-themed events in the works than ever before. Keep up with industry news. Keep your eyes on a few of these great get-togethers so you can see what is happening.
VR and AR are facilitating the latest trends in experiential marketing. This goes to show – the sky is the limit with virtual/AR event planning!
What is the main difference between augmented reality AR and virtual reality VR?
Augmented reality combines digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera of your smartphone. At the same time, virtual reality means a total immersion experience that locks out the physical world.
Who invented AR and VR?
Jaron Lainer coined virtual reality in 1989, and Thomas P Caudell of Boeing coined the phrase “augmented reality” in 1990.
What is AR used for?
AR is a technology that enables people to impose digital images, sounds, text over real-life scenes. AR got a lot of attention in 2016 when Pokémon Go made it possible to interact with Pokémon superimposed on the world via a smartphone screen.
Why is VR better than AR?
Virtual reality is more immersive, whereas augmented reality gives more choice for the user and more chances for marketers because it does not need to be a head-mounted display.