Augmented reality and virtual reality (commonly abbreviated as AR and VR respectively) are reality technologies that either enhance or replace a real-life environment with a simulated one. Augmented reality (AR) augments your surroundings by adding digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) is a completely immersive experience that replaces a real-life environment with a simulated one.
In AR, a virtual environment is designed to coexist with the real environment, with the goal of being informative and providing additional data about the real world, which a user can access without having to do a search. For example, industrial AR apps could offer instant troubleshooting information when a handset is aimed at a piece of failing equipment.
Virtual reality encompasses a complete environmental simulation that replaces the user’s world with an entirely virtual world. Because these virtual environments are entirely fabricated, they are often designed to be larger than life. For example, VR could let a user box with a cartoon version of Mike Tyson in a virtual boxing ring.
While both virtual reality and augmented reality are designed to bring a simulated environment to the user, each concept is unique and involves different use cases. In addition to entertainment scenarios, augmented reality is also increasingly being used by businesses, because of its ability to generate informational overlays that add useful, real-world scenarios.
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