People nowadays want to experience everything. In order to do this, technology has developed products in the form of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR). In a broader sense, there is also another technology that is a combination of AR and VR and is called MR (Mixed Reality).
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is focused on providing you with a complete immersion experience. In VR, the physical world is shut out, and you are not exposed to any of the physical surroundings. Experiencing VR is very easy; all you have to do is get a VR compatible headset, put your phone into the headset after setting it up and then let it take over. With VR, you can experience anything that you can dream of. If you want to know how it feels like to stand atop Mt. Everest, you will know. If you want to feel like swimming with the dolphins in the Pacific Ocean, you can experience it. If you want to know how it feels to be in a rocket ship, you can take a virtual journey to the moon.
The immersion of a person into VR is very dramatic.
Many users have reported that they feel that they are doing physical activities in the virtual world. For example, if you are riding a bike and you hit a pothole, with VR, you can actually feel your body bounce up to a certain degree. This is the power of the mind with Virtual Reality.
Many companies are doing research on VR and are building up new experiences for people using VR. In the near future, VR will become so advanced that you can even have a full-body experience, like in a simulator of jumping from an aircraft. VR helps people train for things without having to injure themselves. For example, if there is a soldier who has to learn how to jump out of an aircraft and deploy a parachute to land properly, he or she can learn how the experience works with VR in a safe environment. Once they are sufficiently satisfied that they know how it works, they can move on to the real world being partially trained. This is applicable to so many other scenarios, like fire tenders, medical personnel, and so on.
What is Augmented reality?
As the name suggests, Augmented reality just augments something to our already present physical world. It just takes our current reality, that we are surrounded by and adds something to it. AR headsets are usually clear glasses, unlike the bulky and completely covered VR headsets. While a person has a more immersive and real like experience with VR, AR provides more possibilities and more freedom to the user. The real world is not completely cut out from AR, and this means that you will not have to wear those heavy and bulky VR headsets. The difference between AR and VR can be understood with an example. Above, we discussed you are swimming along with dolphins in the ocean, now that is VR. But, if a dolphin suddenly comes out of your wallet, then that is AR.
One of the widest acceptations of AR is the popular game Pokémon Go. This is still considered a game that brought about a shift to the AR market and showed companies that people are ready to embrace a world of AR as well. In the game Pokémon GO, the user would take their phone around with the camera turned on, and they would find little creatures, called Pokémon in different places, you could find one in your front lawn, one in the parking space of your office building and so on. This game became so popular that the servers often crashed.
With the introduction of new-age AR devices like google lens and Microsoft’s HoloLens, the use of AR will only become more substantial in our daily lives.
There is a lot of research that is being conducted in both these technologies to find avenues where these can be used not only to give users a better experience but also as technologies that we would be using daily. For example, in a top university, VR research has been taken to the next level by integrating smart smells. So, one day in the future, if you are watching a movie where the people go into a bakery, you will immediately get the smell of fresh bread and thus make it feel like you are in the movie along with the actors. There is huge commercial potential in both these fields, and that is why tech giants like Microsoft, Google, NVIDIA, Lenovo, and so on are all doing their own research into bringing Augmented and Virtual reality as a component in our daily lives.