Virtual Reality Playgrounds and Augmented Reality

 

By: Shahriar H.

What was thought to be

to experience the future.

[ 50’s sci-fi ]

Life has always felt a bit boring at times, hasn’t it? After watching a movie or reading a book, you always get that familiar feeling of disappointment when you have return to your own world. And when humans don’t like something, they do something to mitigate it. This is why we’ve invented alternate, interactive, functioning realities. We’ve nearly created a self-functioning universe; no big deal, right? We’re just bored.

To elaborate on these alternate realities we’re talking about, they are not the type where you sit comfortably at home and relax. No, these realities are not on par with big names like the Oculus, but beyond them. Imagine what video games are to a playground. This is what Oculus is to a Virtual Reality (VR) playground or an Augmented Reality (AR); they entail physical movement in a man made environment. At the moment they are in their infancy, but very soon, they will be well developed and ready for the public!

When VR is mentioned, video games are what usually come to mind, mostly because that is where it is most developed; therefore we have associated it with that. However, it can be more than that. Just like video games are highly interactive programs, that can be used for many more things than entertainment, VR and AR are just other platforms to explore.



To compare and understand the difference between the two, we must look at how they function:

 

Virtual Reality Playgrounds Augmented Reality
Environment
  • Functions solely within a dedicated building.
  • Functions within reality. Hence, ‘augmented’ reality.
Equipment
  • Uses specially made equipment that only works inside the building.
  • Uses anything that has recognition ability, including already existing devices like smartphones.
Creativity
  • Limited to the frameworks of the building.
  • Limited to what already exists.

To sum up the comparison, AR adds to what is already there. A VR-Playground fabricates itself within a building/framework. Think of it like a piece of theatre: a VR-Playground is limited to a stage, what we might think as normal theatre, whereas AR is limited to the world, which is what we might think as improvised theatre on the streets. Both have infinite possibilities, only AR is a bigger infinity than the VR-Playground simply because where VR is limited by the frameworks of a building, AR is limited to the frameworks of the world.

 

There are many uses for both realities, and these are some of my favorite ideas:

 

Virtual Reality Playgrounds Augmented Reality
Uses
  1. A business-meeting
  2. Role playing games
  3. Painting
  1. Everyday life
  2. Turning your school into a sci-fi battlefield.
  3. Random games on your smartphone
  4. Education

Imagine holograms sprouting out of your table showing you statistics related to your company. Imagine what 3-Dimensional paintings might look like in VR if the right tools are given to a skilled artist.

Imagine wearing glasses that give you any and all information you want in the world you are in. Imagine the new possibilities within the average classroom if given to a skilled teacher. Imagine turning your school into a sci-fi battlefield for you to dominate your classmates in. Imagine small detective games on your phone that require you to scan for clues (in a controlled environment) and what not.

To close up, there are infinite possibilities on either end, only that AR is bigger than VR. What more ideas can you think of? Which side are you on?

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