Augmented Reality (AR) vs Virtual Reality (VR): The Difference

While VR completely immerses user into its virtual environment, AR embeds chosen objects into real atmosphere complies difference other than the mentioned in the post below.

AR vs VR

The technology involving simulation of the virtual world either by completely embedding it with the software or embedding virtual objects into the real environment when seen through a compatible device. Augmented Reality on the one hand adds one-fourth of the virtual environment and Virtual Reality adds almost three-fourth of the virtual environment to the present real world.

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is a computer-generated simulation or replacement of one’s environment in simple terms. For example, you put on a headset it blocks out your world view and substitutes the digital world that’s designed to fool your senses from the point of view of your brain you’re somewhere else it’s a form of mental teleportation.

History of Virtual Reality

The origin of VR as a technology system can be traced back to 1962 when filmmaker Morton Heilig created a Sensorama. It was an arcade-style cabinet with a 3-D display, vibrating seat, stereo sound fan, and sent producer. One of the experiences was riding a motorcycle down the streets a viewer would have a 3-D view of a street while having the wind blowing in their face while simultaneously feeling the vibration of the motorcycle seat and even experiencing the smells of the city. Although it was revolutionary for the time the idea didn’t stay for a long time.

Most people point to MIT computer scientist Ivan Sutherland as being the godfather of VR displays. In 1968 he created the sword of Damocles, the first VR headset, he and his colleagues at MIT started the first virtual headset experiment as a side point. Sutherland was a low-key genius he also invented a sketch pad in 1963.

It wouldn’t before 1987 when the actual term Virtual Reality was coined by Jaron Lanier. Virtual means being something in effect though not in actual or in fact. Now currently VR is quickly becoming extremely relevant to gamers, 3-D artists, architects, real state agents, teachers,s, and students even astronauts.

How VR works?

The primary subject of virtual reality is the simulation of vision. Every VR headset aims to produce a real 3-D interactive world by creating a sense of the real world. We have two eyes, each is about apart 3 inches from the other so to keep busy both eyes two autofocus lens are placed in front of both. These lenses are autofocused and they adjust their focus according to the position of both eyes.

A whole set of cardboard-like structures is placed in front of eyes which cut all the interaction from the real world. The visual on the screen is rendered by using a mobile phone or HMDI cable connected to the computer. The VR headset is so smooth that no outside noise hits the eardrum. So the whole focus is on the VR screens and that gives a sense of real interaction till there is nothing in it.

To create an impressive virtual reality- a frame rate of a minimum of 60fps, an equally competent refresh rate with a 100-degree field of view(though 180 degrees is most suitable) is needed. The frame rate is the rate a which GPU can process an image per second, refresh rate is the rate at which the display screen can render an image and the field of view is the angle at which the extent the eye can stretch his vision.

Applications of Virtual Reality

The use of virtual reality as a training tool in the medical field is well known. Medical schools have adopted this technology as a way to teach the upcoming generations of surgeons. For example, robotic surgery. The major use of virtual reality is in the health sector but other fields have also adopted this technology equally like the education sector, armed sector, construction, telecoms, and business. We can now easily imagine the structure of the building by using VR. Some other benefits are:-

VR can bring dreams/ inspiration to reality

Being in a virtual environment, a user can choose to display anything in the system or in a VR display. However, this experience needs to be artificially recreated in a high-definition environment. Since the designs to be displayed on the screen of a VR is needed to be preplanned and needs to be designed in advance before setting on the screens.

Video Conferences

Since, the last year, the World had witnessed the biggest destruction of the Century with the clause Corona Virus that had subsequently shifted the mode of public meetups or meetings or be it be conferences or seminars through Online resources. However, the involvement of Virtual Reality in the domain has increased the performance of a lead into the same via minimizing the Online-Offline behavioral changes.

Fun & Entertainment

VR is however the best possible way of entertainment and fun. One may watch Movies or Videos in 3D or 360 degrees of field view without the loss of quality or compromisations. In terms of gaming, the latest VR product Oculus from Facebook Company has brought a dedicated game studio and section for developing and enhancing the end-user experience in gaming.

Other than the above advantages of VR, the technology has subsequently shown various other benefits or advantages like simplification of a complex problem or it may help student to understand topic easily as well as being innovative and enjoyable, etc.

Disadvantages of VR

Being a tech product disadvantages are among the essentials. Some of them are listed below.

Lack of Flexibility

Virtual reality is not flexible as we think. If in a class you can be flexible to ask any questions and there is someone who answered these questions but you put virtual headset and you are having some problem in understanding the topic it may be a very difficult task to handle it. Suppose you are watching education content that is programmed by some software engineer to perform a certain task but we all “education isn’t a fixed activity rather it’s a fluctuating activity”. That is the level of understanding the same concept may differ from person to person.

Functionality Issues

No matter how advanced technology we use there is always a trust issue on the performance of the device. If you had your exam the next day and your virtual reality headset goes boom then you will be in big trouble or you may fail in the exam. Like with any programmed software, things often go wrong, when things will go wrong student’s learning activity will definitely be stopped until the tool is fixed. This can be quite expensive and inconvenient also.

Deteriorating Human-Human Interference

While Virtual reality can be a great asset for many existing fields, it can also be a reason for huge advantages. We are living in the internet era that had already cause a huge impact on human connections. It has significantly reduced human-human interaction to very extinct. Virtual reality can be another reason for the decrement of human-human interaction.

Addiction and Expenses

Being a tech addict is not something we came across for the first time but we often use this word frequently because every 1 out of 10 smartphone users is addicted to their phone, laptop, computer, or some gaming gadgets. We will face the same problem with Virtual reality because it will cut human-human interaction and there won’t be anybody to tell the consequences of more use of VR.

Virtual reality is very expensive. Its headset only costs about ₹40k then one may imagine the cost of a total set of Virtual reality. It is very expensive in terms of cost-efficiency also. Since for the full taste of Virtual Reality Systems needs a full-fledged setup consisting of VR headset, VR supported algorithm or sceneries, VR powered earphone that has the ability to surround sounds.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is also known as mixed reality beast from VR this is because its main purpose isn’t to cut out the real world and transport you to another one but rather is to be an enhancement of your real world with a set of magical virtual objects in it. When a persons’ real environment is supplemented or augmented with computer-generated images usually motion tracked then that’s augmented reality. So if you played Pokemon Go or have used Snapchat lens face filter then you’ve already used primitive forms of augmented reality.

The term AR is attributed to a former Boeing researcher in the year 1990. Augment is a Latin word Augere which means “to increase or add”. Hence AR technology is adding to our existing reality.

History of Augmented Reality(AR)

The first AR technology was developed in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland, a computer scientist at Harvard who first created the AR head-mounted display system called “The Sword of Damocles”. The user’s computer-generated graphics enhanced their sensory perception of the world. He is considered the “father of computer graphics”. Though the first commercial AR application appeared in 2008 by German companies in Munich, its history is quite old.

How AR works?

One using the AR or Augmented Reality experiences enhanced virtual objects embedded into the main image captured. However, the backend of the output or result involves three main processes as shown in the figure above. The image captured in the first step is processed under server level through various cloud computing techniques and delivers a properly embedded AR module upon the captured image.

However, the first step, i.e. image capture phase, involves capturing minute details that need to be processed and embedded with the selected asset or graphics to obtain a high resolution final augmented output image.

Advantages of AR

Augmented Reality is so far in the first stages of the complete development cycle and is a tech from the future expected to reach the best use cases and performance peak in the upcoming years. Just because due to the rise of powerful smartphone technology it has been in the mainstream. AR is a term used to describe an enhanced view of the real world by overlaying computer-generated content. These can be video, 3-D models, dynamic web content, etc. However even today AR has several advantages and benefits to be used as mentioned below:-


Some of the recent tests or experiments in modern-day eCommerce revealed Augmented Reality in use. This test ensured the Augmented experience of the product in the real world. For example, Lenskart enables an augmented experience of the product (specs in this case) or 3D Trial as claimed by the brand. As soon as the user chooses a 3D trial, the software automatically embeds the product virtually upon the face of the user.

Workforce Training

Augmented Reality was recognized to be super useful in the workforce training by the US militants. AR is often used to simulate perfect conditions of warfare for the training in various scenarios. In fact, according to some sources, the US hosts the first city only been used for training purposes with zero citizenship.

Brands and Organization

It can be very useful to brands and organizations, AR increases engagement and interaction and provides a rich user experience. Well-implemented AR activity conveys innovation and responsiveness from a forward-thinking brand. Other research has shown that using AR can increase the perceived value of a product and brand.

Automobile Industry

Automobile Industry was among the fastest-growing markets of the decade 2010-20 with a growth of 58% in almost all Asian markets. Augmented reality technology is expected to be embedded into the Industry by 2028 with various advantages as listed below:-

  • AR in the dashboard can provide technical and travel support to the driver, it may also reduce the parking and traffic headache of the driver.
  • AR can even replace the screen in the dashboard used in cars, computers, etc.
  • AR in automotive can acts as a virtual instructor for everyday maintenance i.e changing engine oil, checking tire pressure, monitoring reverse parking cameras, etc.
  • activating virtual product demos using AR-enabled packages.


With the increase in the count of years, science along with the technology is developing too delivering more and influence lifestyle. Developers around the World are developing various feature-rich applications that not only are able to augment various features but also use augmented reality features for real-time navigation. In fact, tech giant Google has also tested this feature in their navigation product i.e. Google Maps in the past that used Artificial Intelligence and AR to deliver a consumer satisfying experience.

Disadvantages or Drawback of AR

Augmented Reality or in short AR is no doubt a promising technology that has a huge future and applications ahead. Though, it has shown various drawbacks in its ecosystem.

Lack of Privacy

Augmented Reality has lacked privacy because it can see what the user watches. So AR collects a lot of information about a user and his/ her personal data. For example, suppose you are using AR smart glasses which automatically screen and record the surrounding. This can leads the user to comprise the data.

Cost Effective

Being a newer technology, AR or VR is not yet produced in a bulk as other tech items including Laptops or Mobile Phones, etc. It is very costly to implement an AR-based project and to maintain it. AR enables devices that are even not manufactured cheaply.

Reduced Performances on Phones

Unlike VR or Virtual Reality technology is operated on a separate device or headset occupying the complete resource for proper performance and optimization, Augmented Reality or AR uses the user’s phone to operate, and hence, this can be super-heavy for a device with a comparatively middle or lower end specs. Since the total performance is divided into various slots in a memory or storage device in-built i.e. RAM or ROM.

Needs Prior Basic Learning

For a streamlined and proper workflow of Augmented Reality, a user needs to have basic learning in technology handling complex settings and some knowledge in basic terminology for a better understanding of the same.

Differences between AR & VR: Tabular

In the most important section of the article, the main differences between Augmented and Virtual Reality machines in a soothing tabled manner.

Environment75% Real World and 25% Virtually simulated world.75% Virtually simulated ecosystem with 25% Real Environment
Data Transfer SpeedAt least 100 Mbps At least 50 Mbps
WearNo External addon or headset neededVR Headsets are essential to operate
User ExperienceThe end-user operates in close proximity to the real world and can be touched physically.VR operates in a completely virtual environment and can’t be touched and felt.

Mixed Reality

Since now we all know about one of the fascinating gadgets in the human tech race in the forms of Virtual and Augmented Realities. So upon building the above technologies scientists have finally found to maximize the applications or benefits of the same by anyhow mixing the two tech inventions that finally beautifully blended or embedded the virtual world with the real world.

In other words, Mixed reality is the most recent innovation around extended reality. We have currently 3 different types we have virtual reality that can immerse ourselves completely in a digital world using VR goggles or glasses. We have Augmented reality which allows placing digital object onto the Real-world. Mixed reality is a further step it takes Augmented reality to another level where you are able to manipulate the digital images that are overlaid onto the real world.

So a good example is the Microsoft holo-lens and the Lenovo Explorer, You wear basically a headset but this is not a headset like virtual reality that completely blanks out the world. This headset loves to see the real world but you can place the object into this real world. So if you use a hollow lens for example you can use and place a Hologram into your room.

We had often noticed in many sci-fi movies some virtually created objects can be touched in the real world by the application of some VR-like headsets. In short, Mixed reality is one of the upcoming tech blasters in the coming year with a wholesome of features.

So, that’s the end of this presentation. Hope you liked it, then kindly consider sharing but if not, leave a comment below with the valuable feedback.

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