Jade Short

Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality?

We’ve all been there haven’t we? You’ve got a to do list as long as your arm but you’re too busy imagining lying on a sunbed, waiting for someone to bring you a drink.

With Virtual Reality (VR) when you get home you can do just that. You might have to make yourself a cup of tea but then you can put on your VR headset, get comfortable on the sofa and get lost scuba diving in a beautiful ocean somewhere.

Virtual Reality Benefits

VR is brilliant! You can relax deep sea diving, go swimming with sharks without any fear, you could fly a plane or just play snooker. There are a variety of opportunities for anyone with a headset.

Playing these games can also encourage people to go out and try new things in real life too. If that is not a possibility for you though, there are still so many incredible things that you could experience. Just want it to relax rather than experiencing jumping out of a plane? It’s also great for relaxing on a beach for 10 minutes after you have got in from work, without the hassle of packing. What could be better?

Virtual Reality Downsides

With so many options and places to explore from the comfort of your own home VR almost sounds too good to be true but there are a few issues. Not only is the headset awkward to carry around but you can’t use it whilst out and about because it would be dangerous. VR is less accessible to developers too, reports have shown that although the new set of devices are ‘good enough to feel stomach-droppingly real’ the images are however, still pixelated and lag a little bit, causing motion sickness in some cases. When people refer to VR they are talking about the emotional side rather than VR being ‘indistinguishable from reality.’

‘They don't mean that VR is indistinguishable from reality’

Although some may disagree...

Augmented Reality Benefits

AR encourages children to go outside, into the real world whilst still having their phone acting as a comfort blanket. Due to to fact AR is more accessible to both users and developers there are more AR applications out there for you to simply download and take wherever you wish.

If you think back to when Pokemon Go was popular, that was created for the sole purpose of getting people out and about. I was still in school when that came out and I had never seen the dining hall so empty.

What else could be created?

Whether it be getting people up and out or changing the way schools teach with AR education apps. When you think about it AR could change all sorts!

Imagine you’re sat in a science lesson, I remember it well, the skeleton image being projected on the interactive whiteboard and the teacher pointing to what each part is, waiting for us to fill in our worksheets and then writing the correct labels on the board. Well what if we had Augmented skeleton?

By Augmenting a skeleton the class activity is already more interactive and a lot more interesting than a teacher trying to get the class to answer the questions. Imagine the students being able to walk around the skeleton and click on the different bones, they could either be asked a question (maybe exam style questions) or they could get told information about it, the latin name and some statistics like how strong the bone is or how long it would take to repair, for example.

Augmented Reality Downsides

With the amount of people using Pokemon Go, it caused altercations where people had gone to collect the same Pokemon, seems crazy, I know.
Another potential negative is low self-esteem. Those selfies you see with the filters that give you bear ears? They add make-up, smooth out any blemishes and it’s just like using photoshop. AR filters are now having the same effect as the images in magazines, they paint us in a more favourable light “a better version” of ourselves which gives us the thought process of not being good enough.

So which do I prefer?

Personally, although the idea of scuba diving when I get home from work sounds amazing, I prefer Augmented Reality. Encouraging people to go out and physically experience the world in a more enriched way is much more important than allowing them to hide behind a game. I believe they both have a place to move forward and I look forward to seeing what else they will be used for in the future.

Which do you prefer?