Augmented reality and virtual reality are essential to the development of the metaverse. Without these two technologies, a world of digital immersion might be impossible.
Augmented reality (AR) integrates digital objects and information into our physical field of vision. In simpler terms, it displays virtual objects in a physical environment as if they were real.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a 3D simulated environment that immerses its users into a digital world. The unreal experience of virtual reality can either be similar to the physical world or utterly different from it.
If AR integrates the virtual world into our natural environment and VR replaces it, which technology is capable of being a part of human life like the internet is today? This article will consider the differences between AR and VR and determine which technology can power the internet’s future.
Differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented and virtual reality accomplish two different things. However, they have almost the same aim – making virtual objects seem real.
With AR, virtual objects are almost physical. While with VR, the objects remain on a screen. Also, VR requires wearing devices that will cut off its users entirely from the natural world.
Thus, AR adds to humans’ current reality and improves our interaction with the environment. On the other hand, VR replaces our reality with a computer-generated world and immerses humans into this digital environment.
Some parts of augmented reality provide humans with authentic information and items we can embed as a part of our lives. In contrast, most things in virtual reality are unrealistic and might not fit into the real world.
Augmented reality presents a virtual environment or object as an addition to the existing world. So, there is only a partial immersion in AR as you remain aware of things happening around you.
Meanwhile, virtual reality will immerse users into the action. Some VR devices today even synchronize with humans’ sense of touch. Therefore, you can control objects and gaming items as if you are holding them.
VR requires special devices for different reasons. The standard devices are virtual reality headsets that display digital worlds in 3D form and produce quality sound. Combining a headset with a VR glove or controller creates an excellent virtual experience.
An example is the Oculus Quest series, which incorporates sensors and can trace users’ motions and positions.
Unlike virtual reality, AR does not require special devices. Although there are special AR devices like the Microsoft HoloLens, your mobile phone’s camera might be all you need. You can display an item in 3D using augmented reality apps with just your phone’s camera.
Both AR and VR technologies require an uninterrupted internet connection. Nevertheless, augmented reality will consume more internet data and require higher bandwidth than virtual reality.
AR can project holographic images in 3D and use AI to manipulate digital objects. Accordingly, the internet bandwidth it uses will be much higher than what is needed to explore a virtual world.
Meanwhile, the 5G network is emerging at a fast pace. So, it will be easy for Internet Service Providers to deliver the high bandwidth needed to power augmented reality.
Despite the differences between AR and VR, we cannot quickly determine which technology is best for the metaverse. Thus, this article will also discuss the benefits of augmented and virtual reality.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in our daily lives
AR: working in an augmented environment will be both fun and authentic. Augmented reality can allow construction managers, equipment supervisors, factory managers, sales agents, etc., to work from home.
VR: this will be an immersive virtual office where you will only focus on your work. Virtual reality will primarily benefit programmers, copywriters, financial analysts, and people whose work is not physical.
AR: students can see their classrooms as a part of their current environment. However, there will be distractions due to the partial immersion AR offers.
VR: this is by far the best technology for virtual learning. Students will be immersed in the online class. Also, in a practical course, students can work on virtual objects having the same features as the object’s physical form.
AR: Augmented reality might not be the best choice when playing a video game. However, AR can enhance games like chess or tennis and make them real. Using augmented reality, you can project your online opponent and a virtual chess board in your environment through a holographic display.
VR: the best technology to play video games and explore virtual worlds is virtual reality headsets.
Exercise and Training
AR: you cannot replace physical exercise and training with virtual activities in the metaverse. For example, learning and understanding how to use a real weapon from a virtual world might be impossible. Consequently, augmenting such a weapon to the physical world and learning its use might be the best approach.
VR: virtual worlds might be unable to deliver the pressure and weight of exercise equipment. As a result, following the directions of a virtual instructor while exercising with a piece of physical equipment might be the best approach to virtual exercising.
AR: when the metaverse becomes mainstream, humans will not stop loving or caring for their families living elsewhere. Accordingly, the best way to virtually meet with your family might be to display them in 3D in your home.
VR: to some extent, virtual reality can help you connect with your family. Nevertheless, we all prefer to share some moments of our life in person, especially with those we love.
AR: augmented reality glasses can simplify identity verification at a police checkpoint or airport. An officer can use his AR device to scan your AR glass and run a check across multiple databases in a few seconds.
While such an idea might be possible only in sci-fi movies today, the future metaverse is capable of enabling digital identity.
VR: your virtual identity on metaverse platforms might not be helpful in physical situations. Hence, virtual reality may not provide enough solutions regarding human identity.
Both AR and VR have their significance to the metaverse. While VR improves our virtual existence, AR simplifies how we do things and uses virtual information to enhance human life.
It is impractical to think humans will wear VR headsets 24 hours a day. Also, in virtual reality, humans create a different existence separate from the natural world. You might be immersed and active in a digital world, but your brain knows that your body is still in one place.
Virtual reality has disadvantages to human health. For instance, sitting around at home all day will contribute to obesity. Additionally, cutting off the physical world for several hours will ruin families and relationships.
On the other hand, some people wear eyeglasses to read, walk, drive and do everything. So, humans can wear AR glasses everywhere they go. Moreover, augmented reality improves our world and is an addition to our natural life.
Virtual reality will contribute to the development of the metaverse. However, augmented reality is the technology capable of powering the metaverse and becoming a part of human life.