AR, VR or both?

Cutting-edge technologies may well affect everyone’s life in the near future

By Claire Marchand

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are still at an early development stage but evolving at an extremely rapid pace. Will one prevail over the other in future? Will they develop in parallel, serving different purposes and need? Time will tell.

Gaming has embraced VR technology The gaming industry has fully embraced virtual reality (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

AR vs VR

Both AR and VR change the way we experience reality. AR offers users an enhanced version of their environment, allowing them to interact with virtual objects while keeping them in touch with the real world. With VR, users plunge into a new artificial world that may look like the real world but is completed fabricated. 

While VR requires users to wear a relatively bulky headset that cuts them from the real world, AR is developed into apps for mobile devices that integrate digital components into their immediate surroundings. The early trials with AR smart glasses haven’t lived up to their promises yet but they shouldn’t be completely discarded – they may well make a comeback sooner or later.

Many applications

While today VR might work better for video games and social networking in a virtual environment, AR is used in the development of many applications. Education, healthcare, architecture and urban design, interior decoration, tourism, culture or retail increasingly call on AR to perform tasks and/or make their products more attractive. 

Whether hiking, trekking, visiting a new place, playing golf or buying furniture – the list is by no means exhaustive – a simple smart phone application using AR can bring the experience to a new level. In future, AR is expected to contribute to greater safety on roads, at sea and in the air.

The near future may bring new and very interesting technological developments that may well change the way we live and make us see the world in a new light.

AR used to display 3D models in architecture With AR apps, architecture models are showcased in a completely new way that lets users easily manipulate 3D plans through their smartphones or tablets (Photo: Augment)
Gaming has embraced VR technology The gaming industry has fully embraced virtual reality (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech