Virtual vs Augmented Reality

The formal definition of virtual reality (VR) is an artificial world of images and sounds created by a computer that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it or in other words, it is a device that brings 2D objects, pictures, or ideas to life.

To understand the concept of virtual reality we must first understand where VR comes from. In the 1950’s Morton Heilig developed something he called the Sensorama. This was one of the first immersive forms of technology. Ten years later in 1960 Morton produced and patented something he called the Telesphere Mask. The first VR device to incorporate a head mounted display (HMD). This device was extremely limited in its functions and did not include motion tracking. In 1965 Ivan Sutherland had an essay published that explained a conceptual basis for early virtual reality, his essay was called “The Ultimate Display”. In this essay he established a clear conceptual path for digitized reality; having a computerized world or reality where physical object and matter can be created and used for human interaction that are as real as the tangible world we love in. In essence he was the first to come up with the idea of tangible objects that can be interacted with by people in a virtual reality. Later, in 1987, the name virtual reality was born. “Jaron Lanier, founder of the visual programming lab (VPL), coined (or according to some popularized) the term ‘virtual reality’”. In the following years many films and pieces of literature were used to popularize the research of VR and its many capabilities. Sega and Nintendo both attempted to create their own VR headset in the 90s, but they failed as products due to limitations on the software used to incorporate different games. The failure of these products to be profitable in the 1990s was a bit of a setback for VR, but as the hardware and software capabilities of companies like Google, HTC, Facebook, and Sony increased there was an explosion of advanced VR headsets into the marketplace.

Virtual reality products sold through Google include goggles, headsets, monitors, video case holders, glasses, etc.These products truly make up the factors and benefits for virtual reality. Virtual Reality will ultimately take over many careers and jobs from the already failing market. A VR set can place you anywhere in the world with a simple click.

VR gives us millennials a better perspective on how the world has evolved and how much our world, culture, politics, government, economy, social aspects of life, and so on has changed because of these helpful and intimidating technological advancements brought to our lives. Virtual Reality is most certainly changing the way industries are operating, but from a higher level perspective, it is transforming our world, for the better.

Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. Augmented Reality functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced augmented reality technology, the world becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. The sports industry has been using augmented reality for years. Slow-motion could be described as a form of augmented reality, since it gives you the chance to examine what happened in a situation more carefully. AR took its first baby steps into the world about eight years ago. All that was needed to do was strap on 10kg of computing power – laptop, camera, vision processor. AR has changed a lot in eight years. With the rise of more powerful smartphones and computers that have built-in video capabilities, AR becomes more convenient and accessible. A second reality can simply be overlaid onto real life. Both the iPhone and Android systems are capable of overlaying information on top of a picture or video.

AR and VR technologies are still only at the beginning of their potential growth – just sparks before their explosions. Yet already, companies are beginning to adapt. Almost an entire year ago, WSJ explained how to use VR to view their news with a 360 degree outlook. The world is slowly coming to realize that this is the newest and hippest trend.

In anticipation of this, our team is gearing up for big change just like the big tech companies are. This Project will be a journey that dives into both VR and AR and examines their disruptive impact on the world. After this assessment, our group will be searching for tangible and practical responses to these disruptive technologies. Intended to be more than just a combobulation of our thoughts, we hope that this Project will change the way we perceive into the present and future as well as give us guidance on how we can address these disruptive technologies in our respective careers.

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