AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY: DIFFERENCES AND PERSPECTIVES

In the last articles we talked about augmented reality and virtual reality, two technologies that are often combined and frequently confused, especially in Italy, where their diffusion is less rapid than in the rest of the world. In fact, the two technologies are quite different and have applications that are completely distinct and irreconcilable. Two similar ways of approaching an artificial reality.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY

While augmented reality adds non-existent multimedia elements to reality, allowing users to experience a unique interactive experience, virtual reality creates a new world that does not exist anywhere else except in the reality to which it belongs.

To resume textbook definitions, we could say that virtual reality combines hardware and software devices that work together to create a virtual space within which the user can freely move. It is a simulated reality, which is computer-built, of a simulated and three-dimensional world that appears real and makes the users’ experience more immersive.

With augmented reality, instead, human experience is enriched thanks to technological devices such as smartphones, with which it is possible to observe virtual elements and interact with our reality. Therefore, while in the case of augmented reality it is the virtual world that “enters” the real world, in the case of virtual reality we are “entering” a new world.

AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY: USES

Thanks to technology, it is possible to interact with a large amount of information. This affects our daily life and can represent a great limit for the human being, who by nature is used to interact with a three-dimensional reality. In this scenario, virtual reality and augmented reality are two related technologies that offer the possibility of concretely improving the capacity of the human being, accentuating its potential.

Through the five senses, in fact, we access information and process it thanks to our mental capacity, which is reduced if we perform multiple activities simultaneously, affecting the so-called cognitive load. However, thanks to our sense of sight combined with technology, when we look at the physical world, we instantly receive an enormous amount of information with no effort, because an image that superimposes information on the physical world minimizes the cognitive load and makes augmented and virtual reality effective.

THE FUTURE PERSPECTIVES OF AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY

According to some researches, both augmented reality and virtual reality will expand rapidly in the near future, reaching a growth rate of 58.1% from now until 2023. The new generations of smartphones, combined with the progress in connectivity, as well as the innovative platforms and services developed by Apple, Google and Facebook, will accelerate this process. If today the virtual reality seems to be more widespread than augmented reality, by 2023 the latter could overcome virtual reality, due to the growing demand in the tourism and retail sectors. Indeed, virtual reality is currently used mainly for games, but both augmented reality and virtual reality can be extremely useful to improve the users’ experience in the world of tourism and smart cities.

The assumptions seem to be positive, also because many global companies are willing to apply these technologies within their realities. 82% of companies currently exploiting the advantages of augmented reality and virtual reality are satisfied with the benefits obtained. In general, augmented reality is considered more applicable in a company, because of its ability to interact with reality.

Now, around 65% of companies dealing with augmented and virtual reality produce hardware devices, such as virtual reality viewers. The demand for software solutions is lower, but it is intended to speed up its expansion.

To learn more about the latest technological innovations, keep an eye on our Journal.

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