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Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Detailed Explanation

virtual reality and augmented reality

Hello Guys. Welcome again to this forum. In this article, I am gonna discuss in brief about a computer science-related topic. Virtual Reality(VR) vs Augmented(AR). What are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? How to define Virtual reality and augmented reality? How they are different? What are the similarities? Advantages and disadvantages of this technology. So Let’s get started with further brief discussions on these two topics, “Virtual reality and Augmented Reality” or Difference between Virtual reality and Augmented reality VR vs AR. Virtual reality and augmented reality Creation, side effects everything.

First we’ll start with a basic intro for Virtual Reality. Then getting into more brief discussions and comparisons using info-graphics and texts for virtual reality and augmented reality.


What do you mean by the term ” Virtual ” ?

Of course the term “Reality” means something in the real world, something in effect currently and also in fact physically present. But, what does the term “virtual” means? Virtual is a term popularly used in the Computer Science field for different multiple resemblances. “Virtual” means something that is not existing in the real world as a physical entity but is virtually present. Means, something that can be seen and felt with the help of a Computer or Smart computing devices. The term virtual means something in concepts and not in physical existence.

For example, ” Virtual Memory”, that means imaginary memory, set of locations, or address that is appeared to be a part of extended main memory although some of its data is on secondary memory. It is abstracted memory from physical storage to the main memory temporarily. Other examples can be a virtual OS ( Virtual computers), Chatrooms, etc. This is the meaning and examples only for the term “virtual”. But, what is “Virtual Reality”?


We have already discussed ” What do we mean by the term Virtual ? “. Now getting forward towards Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality is the Simulated experience of something similar or completely different from the Real World using Computer Technologies to give users a life experience. Virtual Reality puts the user into a life-like experience unlike the normal interfaces that only let you some controls and a big screen. It is a Hi-tech that provides you a real life-like 3D experience to make the user have a feeling of being into that environment.

We feel and make percetion as real for only things we have our senses to get believe upon. And this is how VR system tricks your brain.

virtual reality and augmented reaity

It is just an artificial environment created with the help of some intelligent software, and lets us create a Virtual Environment using both, software and hardware. Generally, only in a normal language, we say a combination of software and hardware, but in fact it’s actually called firmware device.

With time and hike in technology, VR – Console devices have now become more advanced and useful in a variety of scope of use. Like Movies, Classrooms, Highly interactive Gaming systems. Let’s get an escape from your world to a virtually real world.

Such devices are also known as VR Headsets or VR console device.

VR Technology 3 Types

  1. Non-Immersive Simulation: Non-Immersive virtual world is something that people confuse and sometimes not consider as a virtual world. But it’s the most basic and common form of virtual reality form in our daily lives. For example Normal Video Games.
  2. Semi- Immersive Simulation: This also considered a mixed reality, it provides us a partially virtual environment for the human user. For eg. In an airplane simulator at the training Center, the buttons, controls, and windows are real but screens display virtual visuals. Still, user has a feeling of being in a real-like environment.
  3. Fully Immersive Reality Simulation: This kind is a fully virtual real-world simulation which gives the user a more realistic experience to the human user. This kind of includes a VR headset and even sometimes VR headset’s remote control gloves and even a treadmill to simulate arcade modes.

VR Headsets and Associated VR devices

VR console headsets

A software or some collection of programs running on a hardware ( Embedded Systems) constitutes a firmware device. Also known as VR headset ( Head Mount Display), or VR gear. This tech is an integration of advanced technologies from Computer Science and Electronics Engineering fields.

VR lets you roam the Virtual Real-world and gives you a feeling as if you are really there. Whether it’s a VR video tour, Lectures, VR Games( PS-4, steam, etc,) or any movie. Every time users feel as if they are physically present in that virtual environment due to 3D visuals and simulating various senses like noise, vibration, motion tracking, touch, etc.

virtal reality headset and gaming controller

In some VR headset, they have an eye-tracking system as well as handsets for game control like in the image shown above.

VR Headset Hardware | What’s Inside

Inside a VR headset there is a stereoscopic head-mount display screen(provides a separate image for each eye), head motion tracking sensors( will discuss), stereo sound instruments, and some headsets are capable to track eyeball movements.

A VR headset system provides such an outstanding experience due to its 3 main integrated Sensors, Accelerometers, Gyroscope, and Magnetometer. These sensors allow the system to measure the motion and direction for the movement felt in the headset and the handsets game controllers. After that, translate those measurements to the VR environment simulation and virtual movement control.

A VR headset is an Input as well as an Output device as it does takes inputs from head motion tracking, game controller buttons(VR), and also provides outputs in the form of sounds, 3D visuals, and vibrations.

Other most common devices associated with Virtual Reality are Joysticks, trackpads, motion tracking bodysuits, device gaming controllers, etc.

There are many different VR Headsets available for one to choose the right device for them with a large collection of specific models and types. Devices like Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, Sony Playstation VR Headset.

VR headsets use high-quality specialized lenses that provide high-quality vision and 3D experience.

virtual reality and augmented reality
Just an example of simple VR lens, many are much more advanced.

These Lens can do work for helping our eyes lenses. These Lenses correct the angles of light coming from the screen and direct those lights in parallel to our eyes. So, this makes your eyes feel the objects at a much farther distance than they actually are. Like, remember the convex lens experiment at school? Yeah, But this is something more advance than only that.

This was some info about VR Headset and other VR associated devices. But virtual reality is a simulated environment or real or conceptual world to put the user into a reality alike experience in virtual space.

PC Requirements For VR Headset

For some advanced Hi-Tech VR systems like Oculus Rift and HTC-Vive ( and some other too), we do need some serious and powerful computing systems. You can either buy one VR-Ready Laptop or PC or build one/update by yourself. Below are some general must have specifications for you to must-have in order to use a VR with PC.

  • OS WIN 7 64bit or above versions
  • CPU Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or Higher.
  • RAM 8GB or Greater
  • Compatible HDMI1.3 video output Port
  • USB Ports- 4 total ( 3* USB 3.0 and 1 * USB 2.0)

Ques. Is there any VR Headsets that doesn’t require to be used with a PC?

Ans. Yes,

  • Oculus Quest: This is a completely Standalone wireless experience and doesn’t even require a Phone or even any tethering of any kind.
  • Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset – 32GB: Lightweight Headset, Wide Quad, Fast-Switch LCD, Next-generation Oculus Lenses, speakers built into the headset, Standalone VR — no additional devices required while in VR (Oculus Go requires the Oculus Companion App, downloadable from the iOS and Android store on a smartphone).

There is a No for MAC systems.

Health Hazards and Safety Tips For VR Headsets Users

  • The recommended age group for Samsung Gear and Oculus Rift is 13+, whereas for sony PlayStation it’s 12+. HTC Vive isn’t for children at all( RECOMMENDED BY HTC ITSELF)
  • For a short time of usage, NO harm. But, Prolonged use of VR Headsets can do harm to the eyes. Triggers vision problems.
  • They can also trigger dizziness, eye strain, and nausea.
  • May also cause you hearing problems, but still on the condition and that is long time usage.


What do we mean by Augmented Reality? What kind of reality is it? How is it Differ from Virtual reality? Before focussing on Augmented Reality, Let’s first understand what’s the meaning of term Augmented.

The term Augmented means, Enhanced or made larger in size or improved by increasing its value or adding something. Or, an augmented version of something.

Augmented Reality or AR is an enhanced Reality by using Computer and AI(Artificial Intelligence) software. Augmented Reality is a Computer Science Technology where real-world objects are enhanced by the imposition of perceptual or computer-generated images to them to augment reality. It is one of the biggest blending technology trends these days using AI and Augmented reality.

In simpler words, augmented reality is an awesome computer Hi-Tech in which the real-world environment is enhanced by adding computer-generated graphics and virtual objects to them. Much more simpler words, it’s an AI that is used to combine the real-world environment and virtual graphics/objects in such a way that it looks like reality. In this the software or devices application uses real-world physical things and triggers the computer-generated enhancements ( Digital audio or Visuals) over that real stuff. And makes it look as real and difficult to distinguish between. This kind of Reality is called Augmented Reality. For eg Pokemon Go, Instagram’s AI face filters, etc.

An image is shown below for an example of Augmented Reality. An Elephant standing on my Hand using an AR software as if really an elephant is standing on my hand. Check the shadow of the elephant also it’s quite realistic.

virtual reality and augmented reality

It can also be said as a mixed world reality where AR apps or software takes a live view and adds digitally generated enhancements to it. And, hence creates a new world where both of the worlds are combined.

Augmented Reality Apps are software applications that trigger the digital visual (audio and other types also) content into the user’s real-world environment. Some other popular examples of AR apps include AcrossAir, Google Sky Map, Layar, Instagram AI Filters, Lookator, SpotCrime, PokemonGo, etc.

Instagrams AR Filters
Instagram Filters Use AR and AI to give such awesome Things. This image is subject to copyright with Electroinvention and also with the person whose this image is. Any copyright infringement is a punishable Act.
Follow him On Instagram By clicking this Image or follow here.

Usually the software and applications used by devices for AR are capable of doing so and working on all newer versions of android and other OS.

AR Devices and Requirements for Augmented Reality to Run

 AR uses different technologies including optical projection systems, monitors, some handheld devices, and display systems, that can also be mounted on the head.

Usually AR devices are of 3 types:-

  • AR Glasses head-mount smart glasses)
  • Smartphones AR Features
  • Tethered AR Headsets

Requrements for Smartphone devices for having AR run on them:-

  • For newer Smartphone devices, they have capabilities to run AR integrated to them. For devices like smartphones and tablets to have an ARcore and other AR platform to run successfully, we need to have:-
  • iOS 11.0 minimum if we are using an iPhone.
  • For Android, Android 7, and the higher versions.
  • You should have knowledge for OpenGL, GPU rendering, also must have Gyroscope in your device.
  • High-resolution Display, at least
  • Good Camera Quality

Uses Of Augmented Reality

Scope of use for Augmented Reality is very vast.

  • Used in Mobile Phone Cameras, special filters.
  • Multiple Mobile Phone Social media Platforms like Instagram uses AI to add Dog and cats and various other face filters which combine human user and the virtual organs.
  • Entertainment, Music, Adding 3D effects, Movies, Video graphics.
  • Games like Pokemon Go
  • More opportunities in the field of Digital Marketing.
  • Apart from all those things, It’s being used in the Defense field (Military training field) too.
  • Medical Training: Operating MRI equipment for complex surgeries.
  • Google maps using AR.

Go to Google Playstore and search for AR apps and Games. Enjoy.

Difference Between AR and VR AR vs VR Tabular difference

It is enhancements of the real-world environment by triggering computer-generated objects to it and making it looks difficult to distinguish between.Entire Depiction of a real or conceptual world
into a different immersive environment.
Users can sense the presence of
the real world at the same time.
It is immersive and in the case the user can’t sense the presence of the real-world at the same time. It is a different world.
It relies on the real world and physical environment too. The content on the screen is also dependent on the real world too.It is completely a different world and surroundings
do not matter to the virtual reality world.
The user can also interact with the real and virtual world at the same time.Hard to interact and differentiate in real-time. In the case of fully immersive, you are fully in a complete escape from the real world.
It requires a device to combine and augment the real world and the virtual world.It requires a device to put the user inside a virtual environment itself.
Examples of devices are- Smart Phones, Tablets, AR glasses.Examples of devices involved can be as simple as from a normal video game(non-immersive) to Airplane, Car Simulators to train people (Semi-immersive) to VR-Headsets and VR headset remote controllers with treadmills(all of this comprises fully-immersive simulation).
It can be easily Run in newer MAC and iOS devices.Virtual reality is for Windows and Android devices.

So Guys, This was all about it I wanna say. I hope You Liked the topic and the discussion as well. Tell me in the comments. Thank You. Stay updated. Subscribe to our newsletter.

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Aabhishek Sharma is a Computer Science Engineer and a Digital Marketing Trainer and Consultant. Aabhishek Sharma also loves working on Electronics Projects and working with microcontrollers and Designing Home automation Gadgets.

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