February 4, 2015

The fusion of AR and VR

With the rise in curiosity and popularity of Apple’s (and co) recent acquisitions and future plans, the line between augmented reality and virtual reality is becoming more and more blurred, and the fusion of AR and VR more apparent. Add the Magic Leap, HoloLens and Samsung Gear VR in the mix, and you now suddenly have a device readily available to a mass market.

From the various conferences and trade shows, as well as developer-related events and functions that we attend, we’ve noticed a growing confusion and/or interchangeability of the two terms. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with this interchangeability, as both terms refer to a digital environment, it’s simply a matter of percentages.

A good way to explain it would be to think of the terms in percentages:

25% real + 75% virtual = Virtual Reality
75% real + 25% virtual = Augmented Reality

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve already come across the Wikipedia definition of augmented reality that states, ”a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.“ Whereas virtual reality is defined as, “sometimes referred to as immersive multimedia, is a computer-simulated environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds.”

Both technologies have a similar goal: immersing the user in an experience not possible through non-computer assisted vision. Augmented reality superimposes digital information atop the real world, whereas virtual reality creates an entirely new reality (world) for the user to interact with.

At Wikitude, we’re keen on knowing what our customers are developing, and more specifically which device(s) they’re targeting.

In earlier versions, the Wikitude SDK supported Google Glass, Optinvent’s ORA, or the Vuzix M100 for example, which are monocular devices suited for augmented reality applications.

Epson Moverio and ODG devices offer a more comfortable AR experience for users thanks to their see-through view. We’ve tailored and calibrated our SDKs for these devices to down to the millimeter of where the camera and other essential onboard equipment is, ensuring a flawless tracking.

Then the era of mixed reality devices arrived. Hololens and Magic Leap One can be used for augmented reality, as well as virtual reality. 

We believe that both AR and VR currently have, and will have even stronger places in our daily lives in the future. Years ago, virtual reality bubbled up, but fell flat due to poor execution. The technology just wasn’t ready for the concept. Today, with more and more powerful devices reaching the marketplace, both AR and VR performances are starting to meet consumer expectations.

Facebook clearly has something up their sleeve with a $2bn acquisition of Oculus Rift, Apple has been gobbling up AR related patents and buying further companies like Akonia Holographics, Microsoft has revealed their HoloLens 2 device, Magic Leap One has finally been revealed. And while our focus here at Wikitude has been primarily AR, we see a number of possibilities in the mixed reality sector. So whether it’s virtual or augmented reality, we’re committed to delivering cutting-edge technologies that will help people make the best out of the world around them. 

To this end, we’re continuing our forward momentum with SLAM technology, one that we see great potential in, for AR, VR, XR. To find out more about our specifically tuned SDKs for mobile devices and wearables, visit our SDK page, and download your free trial today!

Questions, comments? Let us know!

If you have questions, suggestions or feedback on this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter or send us an email at hello@wikitude.com!

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