Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality – What is the Difference?

When it comes to popular, disruptive technologies, augmented and virtual reality are usually the first associations we have. Both are growing rapidly and constantly offering new applications and solutions. However, they are not the same. Read on to find out why.



Definition of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality uses existing reality as a basis for computer-generated modalities and enhancements to render it more meaningful. Interaction with reality becomes deeper and more complex this way. Augmented reality is at the basis of many apps that are used on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to blend digital elements into existing reality in such a way that they can be differentiated, yet enhance one another.


Definition of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality differs from its augmented kin in that it does not use existing reality as a basis. It is a computer-generated, fully artificial rendition or simulation of a real life situation. VR is an immersive experience, making users feel as if they are living in the simulated rendition of reality. It does so mainly by stimulating their senses.


Further Differences


Augmented reality and virtual reality also differ in terms of the devices used.  Augmented reality uses a wide array of equipment, such as AR headsets, tablets, laptops, and smartphones, to ensure the user’s connection with the real world is not disrupted. On the other hand, virtual reality only uses headsets to channel the user’s visual and auditory perception into the virtual world.

Degree of Immersion

With virtual reality, there is a greater degree of immersion in the simulated rendition of the world. Nothing the user sees is real, so they lose contact with actual reality. With AR, reality is “augmented” (hence the name) by adding digital data to it, and the connection with the real environment is not lost in the process.

Education Technology

The industry, in which both these technologies have the greatest potential, is education. Both AR and VR provide an occasion to disrupt traditional teaching and learning methods, but they have differing solution applications. As AR’s main feature is to “amplify” the world, it can provide greater practical benefit. VR is a better choice for theory-based lessons because it can be used to immerse students into artificial worlds, such as different historical periods.

Strength in Unity

Augmented reality and virtual reality work best together, not when operating independently of one another. It is a good idea to blend and combine them in order to deliver the most immersing and effective experience possible.