The difference between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

Augmented reality

Everyone has heard of augmented reality (AR) and  virtual reality (VR) , two of the most developing technologies in recent years. 

Although they are often confused for their ability to create a sort of bridge between the physical world and the digital world, there are many elements that differentiate them.

(We also summarize them in this video ). 

Augmented reality: 
amplify the real world with the overlay of digital content.


When we talk about augmented reality (AR) we are referring to an “augmented” version of reality, created through the use of technology, which adds digital information by superimposing it on the real environment.
To do this, augmented reality uses a smartphone (or a tablet), on which it is possible to download an AR application (many are available on the iOS and Android stores, such as the Ikea app ), or more sophisticated systems, such as Google Glasses.

But how does it work in practice?
Augmented reality apps use your phone’s camera to show a view of the real world in front of you. That is the starting image, on which layers of information are added, such as texts and/or other images. One of the most famous examples is Pokemon Go , an app that allows you to place digital images, created on a computer, of the beloved monsters of our childhood on top of reality.

In short, augmented reality starts from our reality and adds something to it. It doesn’t “teleport” elsewhere, it simply amplifies our current state of presence.

Virtual reality:
a digital environment that completely replaces the real world.


When we talk about Virtual Reality (VR) we mean a technology capable of transporting us into a reality different from the one we are experiencing. This happens thanks to visors which, once worn, are capable of isolating you from the world and teleporting you elsewhere.

Everything we see and hear is replaced with something computer-generated, which envelops us in a 360-degree immersive experience and with which we can interact using our hands, just like in reality.
With VR we can climb a mountain, explore the universe, drive a car model not yet released on the market, visit a house under construction, find ourselves at a concert or on a Caribbean beach, carry out safe exercises, interact on a new machinery, being catapulted into ancient Rome, walking in the company of a famous poet or meeting our friends on the other side of the world. In short[virtual reality immerses us in another reality, teleporting us to live any type of experience.

As we were saying, to do this this technology uses viewers. There are different types on the market, we explain the differences in this article .

In both cases, however, whether we are talking about augmented reality or virtual reality, in order to truly appreciate and understand their characteristics we can only do one thing: try them!

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