Virtual Reality Vs. Augmented Reality - The Struggle For Dominance

Posted: Feb 7 2018, 12:47pm CST | by , in News | Technology News

Virtual Reality Vs. Augmented Reality - The Struggle for Dominance
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A take on where VR and AR are right now.

Advances in technology often seem to come in waves, and recently we’ve swamped by a sort of tech tsunami. Last year, virtual reality hit the market, which saw its adoption rise quickly and then sort of plateau. Now, we’re about to get hit with another wave, and this time it’s augmented reality. Investment capital has been pouring into this sector, and AR is now attracting much of the attention. Throughout 2017, roughly $2 billion were invested into the two technologies. VR led the way early on, but the end of the year saw a funding shift to projects dealing with augmented reality. So, why has AR managed to steal the spotlight?

A whopping $162 billion. That’s the estimated figure for VR and AR’s combined revenue by 2020, according to the IDC. Over half of this revenue is expected to be generated by hardware sales, while software and services make up the majority of the remainder. Of this VR and AR services could eventually take the lead in the form of training applications and more. It has also been forecast that AR systems will quickly overtake VR systems due to the greater flexibility and usability the technology can provide.

The gap in marketability appears when comparing potential sources of revenue between VR and AR technology. Virtual reality will surely maintain the lead in VR gaming, tourism and potentially pornography for some time. However, AR is expected to take over pretty much everywhere else. Augmented reality could integrate seamlessly into product design, engineering, health care and management related tasks. Virtual reality is great at taking users into a virtual space, which is perfect for games or immersive experiences, but it lacks the flexibility to be adopted on a vehicle assembly line for instance. A scenario like that (and many others) is where AR has the potential to really shine. Not being isolated from the world around you, as today’s VR requires, means that a worker on said assembly line could be viewing an overlay inside AR glasses that can be used to look for defects or other flaws on a vehicle part. Schematics or other information could be displayed “heads-up”, on top of the world around us. A great example of how quickly AR could take off when properly integrated is Pokemon: Go.

While AR can work quite well in a gaming sense, as the game clearly demonstrated, VR is still the way to go for the ultimate in immersive gaming. Virtual pornography is much the same. While AR porn might eventually be the bigger of the two, for the foreseeable future VR porn is going to keep its seat on the throne.

Mike Hartman of VRSmash says that, “While we are always looking towards the future, which in this case could well be AR porn – the current VR setup hasn’t been perfected yet itself. We’ve also found many users prefer to be immersed in a scene, rather than have the scene take over their reality. We’ve seen the same thing on the VR games side of things, where immersion is mostly preferred to AR. Maybe a mix or blend of the two technologies is what we’ll end up with.”

What he says makes sense, as both technologies are themselves aspects of a real and virtual continuum, so the expectation is that devices should be able to switch seamlessly between the two. Allowing the user or the task to dictate how the media is mixed would indeed be the best way forward. For now, VR is taking care of the imaginative and AR is gearing up for practical uses in applications such as engineering, industrial efficiency and safety or enhancing experiences such as movie subtitles, museum tours or retail shopping.

We’re already seeing AR technology appear as well. We saw Google Glass (which pretty much failed), attempt to enter the wearables market. Now HoloLens aims to put a powerful PC in front of your eyes and Magic Leap has a hip mounted computer that transmits to a quirky looking headset. The newest entrant, Intel is giving it a shot with their Vaunt Smart Glasses, which look and feel more like traditional glasses. A low-powered laser shines onto the users’ retina that can provide information similar to a HUD, so the info projected looks like it’s on a screen but it’s not. These glasses look to be the most viable, due to their small size and “fashion” acceptability. Developers can get a sneak peek at the technology later this year.

The defining factor for AR and VR integration will be usability for the task at hand. How well developed the technology is will also play a large roll, but VR mobile AR tech like smart glasses, combined with standalone VR headsets will be the reality of the future.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml[@]




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