World renowned scientist Albert Einstein once said: “REALITY is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. Even ancient scholars term this real world as an illusion. All the things that we see, hear, smell, touch are all composed of matter and matter makes up the whole world. This is in case of the real world.
In the digital world pixels and binary values take the role of matter. They are the building blocks of the virtual world. They make up the virtual environment in games and even VFX in movies. The 2D versions however are now being upgraded to 3D and higher versions with immersive and interactive environments giving first hand experience for the users.
The terms which has got much traction nowadays are related with Reality or “Digital Reality” to be precise. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality are all trending topics of the decade. Many start-up initiatives based on VR and AR have found the right footing and went on to reach the big league. Such is the growth that this decades old conceptual technology witnessed drastically within the decade – in terms of hardware, usability and effects. Google, Apple, and Intel – they are all investing big into this. The question is:
Why are digital realities becoming such a sensation recently?
Is it because of its various applications in the entertainment domain?
The answer is a big NO.
Entertainment is the most favored and famous application. However it is not the only one . The applications spans A to Z of domains.
Academicians can use it to learn and teach OR Architects can use it for designing plans. Realtors can use the technology to show a property to an interested buyer in the comfort of their own space. Zoologists may use it to augment their research of the wild OR Zodiac practitioners may use the technology to assist with their prediction making.
The type and degree of application may vary, but the point is made clearly: Digital Realities will change the face of every domain of work.
But what exactly is the distinction among AR, VR and MR? Then there is that new term XR which is popping up at some places. Let’s take a look.
- Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone or similar gadgets. Eg: Pokemon Go.
- Virtual Reality (VR) implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. Using VR devices such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift etc. users will immerse into a virtual 3D environment and take in experiences first hand.
- Mixed Reality (MR) experience combines elements of both AR and VR, real-world and digital objects interact.
According to Mr Robert Rice who coined XR, it is simply “XR” where X stands as a variable. In the near future realities may blend together (and which they will). AI, IoT and even block chain will come into the picture. Hence he created this term as a collective name for such a system involving any digital reality.
VR headsets as such not just provide Virtual Reality experiences but can also be used to provide an immersive experience while playing 360° 2D videos – such as in the recent Winter Olympics 2018 and the preceding Kabaddi World Cup 2016 held at PyeongChang and Ahmedabad respectively.
With a wide variety of applications and scope for advancements in the field, it can be said that “The show has just started and the reel still rolls on…”
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