In recent years, you may have heard the terms AR and VR, but what do those terms actually mean? Simply put, virtual reality requires a headset device whereas AR can be accessed with something as simple as a smartphone, something the majority of people have today. Virtual reality supersedes your surroundings and essentially transports you to a different place than the setting you find yourself in at the start of the experience. Augmented reality adds to your vision instead of replacing it; you are able to have free movement while images are projected over what you are actually viewing. The most prominent difference between the two innovations is that virtual reality enhances a fictional reality but Augmented reality enhances both real and virtual realities. AR and VR technologies also differ due to the devices required for them and the experiences that both of them produce individually.
AR & VR Applications
Augmented reality and virtual reality are bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. Both technologies allow you to take in content visually, but now the possibilities are being expanded. The ways that we can use our everyday devices with monotonous activities such as searching the web for information or something as easy as online shopping is being transformed into something you can experience hands on instead of just through a device screen. In the past decade, these two technologies have received a lot of funding especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic which accelerated the need for being able to do virtual things.
What Industries are Using this Technology
There are a broad range of industries that are using AR and VR technology. These technologies are being seen in manufacturing companies, remote assistance, education and more. Currently, the gaming industry is taking advantage of virtual reality the most. Virtual reality has made it possible for consumers to have a total immersive gaming experience. Separate from the gaming industry, the mix of virtual and augmented reality has moved to the head of the news since COVID and now doctors and other healthcare professionals have been utilizing VR headsets to aid in the care of patients.
In the engineering world, AR and VR have been playing a large part in the sales process for new technologies. A customer is able to see the design of a product in action before actually manufacturing a single unit by using a computer aided design (CAD) model in many apps that allow you to see the model in ‘real life’. Apps like Jig Space make it possible to visualize a product in your hands by utilizing AR technology on your smartphone so that a customer can see it in their hands before committing to a final design and purchasing the product. It can be difficult to visualize daily use by only relying on sketches and CAD models to give you a full picture. VR and AR technologies allow customers and engineers to get a better understanding of the design without the need of a physical model.
VR technologies also help during the research process while trying to understand a problem before creating an engineering solution. VR can put you in the shoes of the person you are designing a product for. If you are creating a golf related product, you can be a golfer, right from the comfort of your office and experience the end users perspective immersively. You can also get a ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of a specific event to better analyze a problem from many perspectives. Instead of someone taking a video and sending it to you that is stuck in one camera angle, you replay the same video over and over again but look at the event from many different angles! Finally, VR can also put you in extremely remote locations. So if you are solving a problem that is occurring on the other side of the world, you may not have to travel all the way to the location to understand the problem. If there is a mining tunnel down to the center of the Earth, instead of going down there, you could use a VR headset to get an idea of what the location is actually like.
It is unlikely that the world’s focus will move away from virtual and augmented reality technologies. Moving forward, there will always be a need for this technology in various instances and the applications of the technology are only going to get better.
Tresca Can Help
Here at Tresca, we’re ready to help you with your next invention & engineering project. If you want to learn more about how our team can help you during the engineering process, please contact us today to discuss how we can work together.