Now that there’s rapid growth in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) , there is increased confusion about the differences between the technologies. While all are immersive technologies (technology that integrates virtual and real-world elements) and have similarities.
Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.
When a user puts on a head-mounted display or a VR headset, they sense—and their brains believe—they are moving among virtual objects on a screen. Most commonly, the headset is connected to a PC or console that enables the virtual experience. In the case of Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, it’s a smartphone that creates the virtual experience, while the Oculus Go can do it all because it’s a standalone VR headset.
VR is typically achieved by wearing a headset like Facebook’s Oculus equipped with the technology, and is used prominently in two different ways:
- To create and enhance an imaginary reality for gaming, entertainment, and play (Such as video and computer games, or 3D movies, head mounted display).
- To enhance training for real life environments by creating a simulation of reality where people can practice beforehand (Such as flight simulators for pilots).