Virtual Vs Augmented

March 9, 2018

What’s the difference?

Mixed up

These two terms get mixed up quite often by people who are not in the industry and that’s understandable. They seem kind of like the same thing from the outside. Hopefully we can help clear that up a bit.

Augmented Reality

What is it?

Augmented reality is meant to enhance the natural world around you, bringing new information into it. You are not trying to leave or escape what’s around you but instead augment it. Get it? This has lead to many different uses. From practical to fun, AR has found steady ground among mobile users.

What do you need to use it?

AR is used through a phone or tablet. This is makes AR great for being able to be accessed anytime for the myriad of reasons you might need a helping hand. Instant accessibility is a major draw for AR. It doesn’t need really any set up other than a clear table top or reasonable space in a room with an unobstructed view.

What do you use it for?

Many things really. Need to measure a room or the distance between two points for whatever reason? Boom! You can. Apps like MeasureKit and TapMeasure do that. Want to see how that really expensive, sweet, new office chair would look in your home office? Or want to convince your significant other that that funky couch you bought will look great in your living room? Ikea Place does exactly that. You can place furniture anywhere in your living room and see how it will look.

There’s also a plethora of AR games available. A notable one being Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a game that lets you walk around town and catch creatures through your phone.

There’s lots of others games that you can use inside. From viewing cool terrain maps on a table to horror games in your house, AR has a lot to offer.

Examples:

Virtual Reality

What is it?

Virtual reality is trying to accomplish something on the other end of the spectrum than AR. It is meant to take you somewhere else entirely. It is best used to explore places and times you could never go yourself in the real world. You want to go to the moon? Eat that cheese baby. You want to see what Roman emperors were doing? Don’t get stabbed in the back. With VR you can go anywhere and do anything.

What do you need to use it?

There is a lot that goes into tricking your brain that you’re really somewhere else. In order to take part in some virtual reality fun, you'll need a headset as well as something powering that headset. This is your portal to the world of virtual reality. Connected to the headset is either a high-end pc (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive), a video game console (Playstation VR), or a phone stashed onto the headset (Samsung VR). There is much more equipment needed to use VR as opposed to AR. But the payoff is worth it.

What do you use it for?

Virtual Reality is used mostly for gaming. Everything from Star Trek: Bridge Crew where you get to command your own spaceship to Job Simulator where you get to live in a cartoonish reality and work a day job. There are almost as many options as you can think of.

It does have other uses as well though. If you’re a visual learner like me, then you’ve hit the jackpot. There’s some great educational VR apps that let do things like explore the inside of a human body, like in The Body VR. Or teach yourself how to spot a stroke like in the app Think F.A.S.T. (which we had a hand in making). Or if you’re short on funds but want to travel, then something like Google Earth VR might be an ideal way for you to see some beautiful places beyond your bank account.

Examples:

Final Thought

Now that you know a little bit more about the differences between the two popular digital realities, you can be confident in knowing which one might be a better fit for your business. Why not also check out the most common terms used in development.

Who We Are

Pixel and Texel is a development studio based in Dallas, TX, that is developer owned, operated, and founded. We have been creating made to order apps, VR, websites and backend solutions since 2011. Our team of full-stack developers combines decades of code experience, project planning, and coffee drinking to build the bridge that connects brands to consumers. We’re started this company to put development back into the hands of developers.