Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality: Which One Really Is Better?
With virtual reality making headway (see what we did there) in society, it’s pretty clear that VR will make a significant impact in the tech world. Being able to view an environment solely created by software, the user gets to experience a world that they are playing a role in. On the other hand, there’s augmented reality. Augmented reality is a live view of your perspective, however, with computer-generated sensories like sound, graphics, etc.
It’s quite clear that augmented and virtual reality are gaining popularity, but as they battle it out — which one is the clear contender?
Let’s take a look, shall we.
When it comes to the leader of the two, augmented reality is strides ahead with products readily available on the market. Google’s Glass, for example, is an AR product that has hit the market, while Microsoft has plans to launch a similar product in the near future. For AR, it is obvious that it’s making its mark on the commercial market.
But don’t get me wrong, that definitely does not mean VR is moving at a snail’s pace. Because it certainly is not. With the launch of Samsung’s revamped VR headset, users have a better view of content — going from 96 degrees to 101, which provides an upgraded experience for watching shows or playing games. One amusement park is even utilizing VR headsets to make the rider’s experience even more realistic.
If an amusement park is already using VR, the possibilities of other industries joining the movement is on the horizon. Can you imagine if instead of hitting up your usual 5pm gym session, you could access a virtual personal trainer from your living room? This would totally take convenience to a new level. How about firefighters, for example. The amount of training they have to complete prior to certification is strenuous and consists of various situational role playing. With VR, instead of staging these scenarios, they could use the a more realistic approach to training. Their training sessions would be exponentially better because they could actually mimic a real fire or having to save someone from a burning building.
Then there’s augmented reality.
With AR, our shopping experience would be completely transformed. We all know and love online shopping, but it just might get an upgrade with AR. If you’re anything like me and always manage to have at least 10 tabs open with virtual shopping carts waiting in checkout limbo, then you’ll want to keep reading.
What if instead of viewing the photo gallery on a pair of Vince Camuto riding boots, you could actually virtually view and try them on? Whoa – shopping just got so much better. Imagine the possibilities for teachers. Being able to show a biology class a virtual human heart as it pumps blood throughout the circulatory system from a podium would completely change the way students learn and the way teachers teach. The possibilities are really limitless.
But how exactly will virtual and augmented reality impact the transportation industry?
“If cities used augmented reality to overlay parking and mass transit information it would significantly change the way people move,” said David Singletary, Vice President of Sales at Passport. “Being able to virtually see real-time parking availability in garages as you drive around, view bus routes on city streets, or how far away vehicles are from your location would give people relevant information as they make transportation decisions. This could result in reduced congestion as parkers can quickly get to available spaces without circling around and mass transit becomes easier to adopt.”
Imagine if public transit utilized virtual reality — the opportunities and experiences would be infinite. Instead of riding a train into the city, you’d be flying through snow capped mountains in the Swiss Alps. Instead of your daily bus commute, you’d be paddling a gondola in Sicily. Instead of scrolling endlessly through your Spotify morning commute playlist, you could be playing a doubles tennis match with Roger Federer. Let your mind wander a bit because alternate realities are becoming the new norm and the way our minds multitask will change.
In fact, in a Pew Survey, by “2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults will be wired differently than those over age 35. Fifty-five percent said the changes in learning behaviors and cognition will be positive.” Could this be because of the vast array of digital mediums? Most likely, yes. But this could also decrease face-to-face communication.
Augmented and virtual realities are continuing to duke it out, but one thing is for sure — the way we move will be impacted. The real question to ponder is: will alternate realities become reality? Because it certainly sounds like they soon will be…