virtual reality vs augmented reality

Technology review – What is Augmented Reality?

Another type of interactive, reality-based display environment, Augmented Reality (AR) refers to the technology that overlays information and virtual objects on real-world scenes in real-time. It combines real and computer-based scenes and images to deliver a unified, but enhanced view of the world.

Although it has various implementation models and applications, AR’s primary objective is to provide a rich audiovisual experience.

The term was first coined back in 1990 by Thomas P.Caudell of Boeing.

avatar movie screen

Augmented Reality as seen from the movie, Avatar.

Source: Medium

Tl; dr;

Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced version of reality, where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented by adding layers superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world.

As compared to Virtual Reality (VR), AR doesn’t create the whole artificial environments to replace virtual from the real one. Meaning, it appears in direct view of an existing environment, and adds videos, audios, and graphics to it.

Understanding (AR) Technology

mobile phone with augmented reality app

Source: Gabor Balogh

AR is a kind of technology that expands our physical world, by adding layers of digital information into it across multiple sensory modalities (e.g. somatosensory, auditory, visual, olfactory, and haptic).

First commercialized in television and gaming, AR is ready to transform sectors such as logistics,enterprise communications,analytics, manufacturing, marketing, field service, and many more.

Augmented Reality types

  • Marker Based Augmented Reality. Marker-based augmented reality (also known as Image Recognition) uses a camera and some type of visual marker, like QR/2D code, to produce a result only when the marker is sensed by a reader. An example could be pointing your smartphone’s camera into a white wall, seeing your friendly buddy Ironman.
  • Markerless Augmented Reality. Markerless (also called location-based, position-based, or GPS) augmented reality, is one of the most widely implemented augmented reality applications. It utilizes GPS, a compass, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer to provide data based on user’s location. Applications include mapping directions, business ads pop-ups, and events and information.
  • Projection Based Augmented Reality. Works by projecting synthetic light to physical surfaces, projection based AR allows human interaction by sending light into a physical surface and then sensing the human interaction, such as the sense of touch, of that projected light. Applications include utilizing laser plasma technology to project a three-dimensional (3D) interactive hologram into mid-air.
  • Superimposition Based Augmented Reality. Replacing the original view with a newly augmented view, fully or partially, superimposition based AR drives object recognition to complete the whole concept, due to the fact that the application cannot simply replace the original view with an augmented one if it cannot determine what the object is. One example is the IKEA Catalogue app which allows users to place virtual items of their furniture catalogue in their rooms.

Advantages of Augmented Reality

  • Sharing gaming experience with co-players enhances socialization.
  • More simplified shopping.
  • Assisting children to be more expressive and interactive.
  • More improved learning in the education sector.
  • Assisting directions for tourist can boom the travel and tourism sector.

Limitations of Augmented Reality

  • Addictive gaming features could lead everyone to series of health issues.
  • Users could disassociate virtual from the real world.
  • Vulnerable to cybercrimes.
  • Chances of deadly injuries or accidents.


Turned out to be one of the next massive developments in the 21st century, Augmented Reality (AR) is ready to transform sectors such as logistics, enterprise communications, analytics, manufacturing, marketing, field service, and many more.

AR is a technology that expands our physical world, by adding layers of digital information into it across multiple sensory modalities (e.g. somatosensory, auditory, visual, olfactory, and haptic).

Although the AR concept works to add advancement with people’s day to day living, sometimes it could be an avenue for digitally manipulating and masking from reality.

Next post we will discuss about both technologies, and see if there is something in common between them.

By Tuan Nguyen

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