AR versus VR, a Point of View from an Expert.

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As various VR and AR headsets pop out these years, they are gaining popularity and titillating to the public curiosity.  People try to figure out what VR is and what it can do while others compare it with another often-heard term AR to find the difference between the two.  Today, a VR/AR related engineer, Sam comes to 3E-Mag as an interview guest to introduce what VR and AR is and what is the difference between the two.


3E-Mag: Sam, can you briefly explain VR and AR to us, before we go any further?


Sam: Sure.  I will start with VR.  Simply stated, VR- virtual reality brings people into a virtual world.  It is a computer generated environment that will stimulate the users’ visual sense, auditory sense, and tactile sense to create an illusion of entering a real world.  Due to the primary stimulation of VR is visual sense, VR is usually achieved by wearing headsets or goggles like Vuzix M300.

3E-Mag: Thanks, Sam, now can you explain what AR is?


Sam: Well, AR is Augmented Reality which blends the virtual and the real.  This technology will bring virtual objects into reality to enhance the users’ experience.  Take AR camera app as an example, the users can put virtual objects on a real object like to create pictures that combine the virtual and the real.

3E-Mag: What is the difference between VR and AR?


Sam: In short, all you see in VR helmet is computer-generated virtual objects.  On the other hand, AR consists of the real and virtual elements.  VR places someone in a replicated environment providing artificial audio and visual experiences while AR places augmented elements into the real world to enhance the users’ sensory experience.


3E-Mag: What are the applications of the two technologies?


Sam: As it stands, VR might work better for entertainment industry such as games and theater experiences.  When it comes to AR, it can be used for military, industrial, and medical fields; it has also been applied to commercial and entertainment areas.   


3E-Mag: Can you further explain what AR can do for us?


Sam: It can be applied to motorcycles’ helmet and Car HUD to show the user’s driving information such as following distance, lane departure warning, and even rearview video that allow drivers to see through the body of their car.  And, it has already been made into serval consumer electronic devices such as Google glass, Microsoft's HoloLens which can display information for daily use.  In the future, AR goggles can even replace smartphones that users can receive any information they need by just looking through wearing glasses.

3E-Mag: So, Sam, what do you think about VR?


Sam: The VR technology is still under developing.  Right now, it mainly used in Gaming and entertaining industry like many VR headsets came out this year.  However, in further developing, it can be applied to medicine, commercial, architects and various areas to visualize our imagination.  For example, in military area, VR training programs can include everything from vehicle simulations to squad combat. In medicine, users can train in virtual environments from surgical operations to diagnosing. Architectures can create virtual models so that clients can walk through the models and check before the construction begins.

3E-Mag: What’s your final thought?


Sam: I believe both AR and VR will succeed.  Although they still have some issues need to be conquered, such as overheat and overweight. This technology has showed its capability these days.  AR and VR are not just the hot topics nowadays, they are the future.

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