Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.
The overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment) or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment) and is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world such that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment. In this way, augmented reality alters one’s ongoing perception of a real world environment.
From social media filters, to surgical procedures, AR is rapidly growing in popularity because it brings elements of the virtual world, into our real world, thus enhancing the things we see, hear, and feel. When compared to other reality technologies, augmented reality lies in the middle of the mixed reality spectrum; between the real world and the virtual world.
In most augmented reality applications, a user will see both synthetic and natural light. This is done by overlaying projected images on top of a pair of see-through goggles or glasses, which allow the images and interactive virtual objects to layer on top of the user’s view of the real world. Augmented Reality devices are often self-contained, meaning that unlike the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets, they are completely untethered and do not need a cable or desktop
Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment. It incorporates mainly auditory and visual feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory feedback like haptic. This immersive environment can be similar to the real world or it can be fantastical. Augmented reality systems may also be considered a form of VR that layers virtual information over a live camera feed into a headset or through a smartphone or tablet device giving the user the ability to view three-dimensional images.
There are many different types of virtual reality systems but they all share the same characteristics such as the ability to allow the person to view three-dimensional images. These images appear life-sized to the person.
Plus they change as the person moves around their environment which corresponds with the change in their field of vision. The aim is for a seamless join between the person’s head and eye movements and the appropriate response, e.g. change in perception. This ensures that the virtual environment is both realistic and enjoyable.
A virtual environment should provide the appropriate responses – in real time- as the person explores their surroundings. The problems arise when there is a delay between the person’s actions and system response or latency which then disrupts their experience. The person becomes aware that they are in an artificial environment and adjusts their behaviour accordingly which results in a stilted, mechanical form of interaction.
The aim is for a natural, free-flowing form of interaction which will result in a memorable experience.
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