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Augmented and Virtual Reality: Similarities and Differences


Virtual reality (VR)

The term “virtual reality” was first introduced in 1984 by the American researcher Jaron Lanier. He believed that virtuality is an illusory reality generated by computer technology. Since then, there have been many approaches to the definition of virtual reality.

French sociologist Jean Baudrillard considers virtual reality as “a reality created on the basis of replacing the value and institutional elements of society with simulacra.” As a result, the human essence is manifested not in real, but in a virtual society, where a person interacts not with real things, but with their “simulations”.

But we are interested in the definitions, more consistent with the concept of Jaron Lanier.

Thus, the resource “Technique. Modern Encyclopedia”  gives the following definition of virtual reality: it is “imitation of the surrounding reality (visual images, sound, volume of constructed objects) using special computer tools. If stereo photography and stereo movie make the image three-dimensional, and the hologram allows you to view the image from different sides, the virtual reality allows using special equipment to be inside the virtual (imaginary, seeming) world <…> In this case, you can turn heads , Look, walk, touch the hand or foot to the items to pick them up, feel their weight and temperature. That is, the computer generated virtual world is able to deceive the authorities observer senses. ”

Augmented Reality (augmented reality, AR)

In 1994, P. Milgram and A. F. Kishino introduced the concept of “virtual continuum”, which extends from complete reality to complete virtuality. All that is between the extremes of the virtual continuum, they identified as mixed reality (mixed reality, MR). Researchers attributed to it two subclasses – augmented reality and augmented virtuality. Under the augmented reality was understood any case when the real environment is supplemented with virtual objects.

Robert Azuma defined augmented reality as “a system that combines the virtual and the real, interacts in real time and works in 3D.” Augmented reality systems allow you to complement the physical space reflected on the display with virtual objects such as text, images, three-dimensional models, etc.

What’s the Difference:

In order to better understand the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality, let’s present their characteristic features:

Virtual reality:

  • Completely abstract from the physical world to place the user in a completely virtual world.
  • Uses special tools that dynamically update the visible user space in a virtual environment.
  • Creates a new digital world that is as real as possible, but this world is still a simulated computer or other device, that is essentially created by a person in a digital environment from scratch.
  • Interacts only with a person.
  • Virtual reality is a reality based on virtuality.

Added reality:

  • Saves the physical world as a context in which virtual objects are represented and with which these objects interact.
  • Virtual objects are placed in a real environment of the user.
  • Apply elements of artificial reality to the reflection of the physical world.
  • Interacts with both man and the outside world.
  • Added reality is virtuality based on reality.
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