Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality: What’s the Difference?

Virtual reality and augmented reality are accessed via similar technology. With that being said, augmented reality and virtual reality are not the same. Augmented reality enhances the existing world that is in front of you while virtual reality takes you out of the existing world.

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Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality: What’s the Difference?

When you’re using an augmented reality device, it will not completely disrupt your world, but will only overlay extra elements onto it. Augmented reality can be used to display computer generated text, images, videos or even games over physical objects without actually affecting them. So, for example, with augmented reality a person can watch a floating video (that’s not actually there) and still be aware of their surroundings. Virtual reality on the other hand is not designed to enhance the real world by displaying extra elements, but it is designed to replace it.

While augmented reality will overlay things on to the real world, virtual reality covers up the real world and replaces it with an entirely new one. Virtual Reality devices allow users to experience new worlds that are created and designed by other people. Through virtual reality, people can go to haunted houses, swim in the ocean, ride on roller coasters, and maybe even visit other planets. Basically, with virtual reality, people can escape the real world and experience things as if they were happening, while never leaving the comfort of their office chair.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Virtual reality devices can be used to enhance the real world, and augmented reality devices can be used to experience new things. A pair of smart glasses (AR device) could be used to experience a haunted house and an Oculus Rift (VR device) with some cameras can be used to enhance reality. With that being said, augmented reality is mostly used to enhance the real world and virtual reality is mostly used to “replace” the real world with a virtual experience. That’s the difference between the two.