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Just What is the Difference Between Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality

Virtual Technologies are an exciting, "no-limits" development for the business world. What exactly are the differences between VR, AR and Mixed Reality


Not Just For Sci-Fi

Back in 1999, The Matrix movie portrayed a world taken over by artificial intelligence, where the humans, who were “grown” in pods, lived their lives in a Virtual Reality world. It was a time when Reality Technologies were limited to Sci-Fi movies. Who would have thought just twenty years later, Virtual Reality technologies would be something that would be used in our every day lives to entertain us, educate us and facilitate us in creation and design.

Just when we got a handle on what is Virtual Reality, along came Augment Reality and Mixed Reality. Like the guy on the proverbial bus stating “I don’t know what a Tracker Mortgage is”, you may well wonder “what is the difference between VR, AR and MR?”

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality or VR, is the most commonly known of these technologies. Though it may be seen as a new technology, it was being dreamt of as far back as the 1930’s. VR is a fully immersive experience, in which the users’ senses are tricked into believing they are in a different environment to their real world. A headset is worn, and with this, the user views, and feels part of, a realistic computer-generated 3D world. A great example is The King of The Vikings Tourist Experience in Waterford.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Where VR brings us out of our reality to another place, Augmented Reality takes our current reality and adds to it. Pokemon Go is the most globally known example, but from a business point of view, check out 19 Crimes Wines from Australia who have used AR in the most creative way to promote their wines. Each bottle has a picture of a convict, and using an app downloaded to your phone, and pointing the phone at the label, the convict comes to life and tells their story.

Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed Reality combines the best of both VR and AR, using next generation sensing and imaging technologies. It is predominantly a virtual place where real world objects and people are integrated into the virtual world. It anchors digital world objects to real world objects, allowing physical and digital objects to co-exist .

Headset Requirements

Modern Virtual Reality headsets fit under one of two categories: Mobile or tethered.

Mobile headsets are shells with lenses into which you place a compatible smartphone which is equipped with a suitable high-resolution display. The lenses separate the screen into two images for your eyes, turning your smartphone into a VR device. Mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View are relatively inexpensive at around €90. Because all of the processing is done on your phone, there is no requirement to connect any wires from a PC to the headset. Samsung own this space at the moment. As of yet there is no Apple VR headset.

With the Tethered headset you will experience this higher quality, computer-generated world of imagery and sound with a headset that is tethered to a console or a PC. The cost is much higher. The headsets alone from Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive can cost €550 and upwards, and that is before you even consider a suitable PC.

When it comes to Augmented Reality, most people currently experience it through the use of a smartphone, tablet or larger screen. However, the future lies in AR glasses. To buy a pair of Microsoft Hololens2 spectacles today would leave you with no change from €3,000.

Mixed Reality headsets use integrated sensors to scan the surrounding environment, but this does not add to the cost. Acer was one of the first companies to come out of the gate with a Windows Mixed Reality headset and starts at the competitive price of circa. €300.

Hardware Requirements

The headsets for virtual reality experiences usually require high quality VR-Ready PCs, those usually only owned by individuals who routinely require plenty of processing power, like video and film editors and high-budget video game fans. And this is why the ultimate VR experiences are usually experienced in-house at tourist and heritage sites, universities, shopping centres and arcades.

Who We Are?

Emagine Media are a digital creative agency on the cutting-edge of visual communication. We are the leading brand for Virtual Reality experiences in the tourism and heritage sectors. But as Brian Hickey, Director of Emagine Media explains;

“Every client is unique and that is reflected in our work. The possibilities with VR are limitless. A business just needs a vision of what they want to achieve. That may be creating a VR user experience for their visitors, or promoting a brand in an imaginative, unforgettable way. Virtual reality in tourism! Virtual reality in advertising! Virtual reality in education! Watch this space.”

If you can imagine it, Emagine will create it.”

You can Contact Us at Emagine and we would love to tell you more about this exciting technology.

Brian Hickey

Brian Hickey

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