Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are increasingly making their way into our everyday lives. Trend researchers predict a great future for both new technologies because they make work more efficient, games more impressive and human interactions more multifaceted in many areas.

The difference between VR and AR

VR glasses such as Oculus Quest, HTC VIVE Focus or HP Reverb immerse the user in artificial worlds. Both eyes are operated by one digital display each, creating a three-dimensional image. This approach is known as virtual reality.

Data glasses like Google Glass can superimpose real-time information on real objects that the user is looking at. The smartphone can similarly search for information about objects that the camera is recording. This is referred to as augmented reality.

Areas of application of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality deals with simulations. Thanks to VR glasses and increasingly sophisticated sensors, data gloves and even full-body suits, users experience an artificial reality that feels extremely real.

Increasingly, this reality-like simulation is becoming important in the following areas:

  • Gaming: Computer games are the most popular and probably the most common application. Increasingly, game manufacturers are developing pure VR games that can be played entirely without control devices thanks to the new technology.

  • Industry and product development: VR applications can already be found in planning, in the visualization of work processes, and in the manufacturing of products. In particular, a company can save a lot of money and time thanks to VR prototyping.

  • Medicine: Virtual reality enables high-precision surgery and remote operations. In addition, VR is often used to train and educate medical professionals and to practice delicate procedures.

  • Learning: In an increasing number of fields, VR applications support understanding, learning and training. The spectrum ranges from industrial work to driving locomotives and airplanes to astronautics.

  • Architecture and building technology: Building models can be viewed inside and out using VR - in some cases even with the prospective buyer's individually selected furnishings, materials and room layout. The basis for this is a uniform standard for the digital recording of buildings, Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Areas of application for augmented reality

There are also a variety of applications for AR. Here are three examples:

  • Games: Game characters are superimposed in real environments. The game principle has become known through Pokémon GO.

  • Smartphone: A good example in this area is Apple's Animoji. Users record their own facial expressions and voices, which are then transferred to an animated object, such as the face of a panda bear.

  • Shopping: With the "IKEA Place" app, any furniture from the catalog can be projected realistically into the user's own home.