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Augmented/Mixed Reality vs. Virtual Reality, Part 1

By guest blogger Todd Schultz

Is your reality a little bland? If you’re bored with your life, you can spice it up a little with some reality of the virtual kind.

There are actually two types of virtual reality: Augmented/Mixed Reality and straight-up Virtual Reality.

Augmented reality is taking something that is already there and making it better. It’s reality with a little frosting on it. Augmented reality layers computer-generated enhancements over existing reality so the user can interact with it in a new/enhanced way.

Virtual reality is a full overhaul of reality. It’s an artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment or situation. The user is immersed in this virtual reality and experiences it firsthand by stimulating their vision and hearing. It’s creating a completely different reality than one that exists.

In an effort to produce actual blog content, my collaborator, Martina, and I decided to write a two-part series. Part 1 explores Augmented/Mixed Reality and Part 2 explores Virtual Reality.

Augmented/Mixed Reality

If you just need a touch of extra zip-zam in your experience, you can run out and get yourself Microsoft HoloLens, or any one of the other augmented reality headsets on the market. They “augment” what you see by overlaying images of virtual content on top of the world around you via fancy glasses packed with whizbang technology. You can also experience this on your smartphone by way of apps that do the same thing, but are a bit less immersive. They change reality a touch by changing your face and adding virtual hats, eyewear, and such. It’s like putting on an instant digital costume. My fiancé and I send each other silly videos via snapchat or snow (my favorite) all the time.

Examples:

There is a new version of a Windows update coming on April 11, 2017 called Windows 10 Creators Update. The Creators version has built-in HoloLens features, allowing you to create art and play games in an enhanced/new way. You can even interact with holograms.

HoloStudio

Create holograms with a virtual tool box! What more could you ask for?

Google Tango

Check out this nifty technology with all kinds of apps that are able do things like measure real objects.

Supersized AR

For examples used for installment in public locations, take a look at how 3RockAR in association with APG surprised travelers in a Zurich train station.

Magic Leap

Beautiful examples of augmented/mixed reality in action:

https://www.magicleap.com/#/home

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