The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation.
We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school, we all learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds.
Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brain’s sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective, it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality.
So, in summary, virtual reality entails presenting our senses with a computer-generated virtual environment that we can explore in some fashion.
Although we talk about a few historical early forms of virtual reality elsewhere on the site, today virtual reality is usually implemented using computer technology. There is a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as headsets, omnidirectional treadmills, and special gloves. These are used to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of reality.
This is more difficult than it sounds since our senses and brains are evolved to provide us with a finely synchronized and mediated experience. If anything is even a little off we can usually tell. This is where you’ll hear terms such as immersiveness and realism enter the conversation. These issues that divide convincing or enjoyable virtual reality experiences from jarring or unpleasant ones are partly technical and partly conceptual. Virtual reality technology needs to take our physiology into account. For example, the human visual field does not look like a video frame. We have (more or less) 180 degrees of vision and although you are not always consciously aware of your peripheral vision, if it were gone you’d notice. Similarly when what your eyes and the vestibular system in your ears tell you are in conflict it can cause motion sickness. Which is what happens to some people on boats or when they read while in a car.
If an implementation of virtual reality manages to get the combination of hardware, software, and sensory synchronicity just right it achieves something known as a sense of presence. Where the subject really feels like they are present in that environment.
Augmented reality is just a layer of artificial objects and extra information added to our tech-aided perception of the real world. It does not tear you off the real physical world but enriches it by adding new layers of data to a smart device. In other words, augmented reality is virtual reality, and the real world mixed together. But do not get confused, it is not identical with mixed reality.AR’s data is specific and relevant to what you do or where you are at this particular moment.
So how does it work? An AR-enabled device has software that recognizes a symbol, object, or image and adds relevant content so that we can see these layered visualizations as if they were real.
AR apps range widely – from a simple text-notification app to a complicated instruction on the surgical procedure. They highlight important aspects, enhance understandings, and provide accessible and timely data.
Its primary goal – to deliver artificial objects into the real world – is realized by transferring projected images onto a pair of goggles, lenses, or camera view.
For example, it is a tattoo app that allows users to see how their future tattoo would look on their bodies. The concept is pretty simple, you draw a straight line smiley face on a chosen body part and then position your camera view at the image, the app will replace the smile with a tattoo image.