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Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – The Future:

Over the last few years, huge changes have occurred in the production of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). In some cases, we have seen this push within our more mainstream media consumption – i.e. through 360-degree cameras, or virtual reality headsets that allow the outside world to drop away while focusing on the generated tasks and games in front of us.

The History:

Some of our first experiments in AR and VR have included VR gaming headsets, QR codes used to unlock apps, prizes and website additions to users, and of course the infamous Pokemon Go game – which allowed users to download an app-based game and utilise the camera on their smartphone to find and ‘catch’ pokemon with a visual on-screen representation.

AR vs VR – What’s the Difference?

Augmented reality means the user is still in the world – but something has been added to it, enhancing or intensifying our experience. A VR headset, however, closes the rest of the world off, transporting us into a different mental state. Virtual reality is often described as a ‘fully immersive’ experience – offering sights and sounds and blocking out the outside world using technology such as headsets. With VR some users experience something akin to a dream – where they can feel emotions and physical sensations if the visual effect is hyperstimulating.

Where augmented reality could best be described as digital overlays such as HoloLens by Microsoft which adds windows apps to your surroundings, and allows you to view windows apps almost as if you are inside a computer screen. This, VR headsets and 360-degree video have illustrated the future revolution of a digitally edited reality.

Lesser known MR (Mixed Reality):

MR – or mixed reality – is another newer version of an editorial reality. Mixed reality is a somewhat more sophisticated version of augmented reality where the digital overlays perform a task or operate as a tool or useful technology within the world. The two interact and react – the real world and the virtual tool and play off one another.

How can they work in the real world?

It’s no secret that the virtual world has spilled over into the real world in more ways than one. While virtual reality has taken off in the gaming industry – other industries are becoming interested in adopting some of the VR, AR and MR techniques to evolve current standards of practice. VR can be used to take virtual tours of properties, homes and holiday destinations in the real estate and travel industries. Gaming techniques have and can be adapted to education, and mixed reality tools and overlays are peaking interest in manufacturing and advertising – giving users a taste of new products.

How can VR and AR help your business?

Some of the market drivers behind VR and AR predicted to involve a cost-effective and otherwise efficient nature. Construction, manufacturing and other large-scale, expensive industries could potentially benefit from further digitised planning and walkthroughs when it comes to building major architecture. For the education industry students could benefit from the attention-grabbing nature of a fully immersive experience. Remember the Magic School Bus? Students could, in theory, be sitting in a room that takes them through a field trip detailing the solar system, or the depths of the ocean. Medical students could use augmented and mixed reality tools to simulate operations, diagnoses. Emergency response teams could offer more in-depth training sessions using mixed reality to create scenarios that force first responders to utilise critical thinking skills and problem solve in a fast-paced environment.