It is almost as if one can never fully uncover the extent to which Technology has extended its tentacles. Humans are naturally curious but some people are overly curious. They want to know how this became this or how that became that.
Undoubtedly, our curious nature has birthed beautiful inventions and innovations. If humans didn’t let curiosity get the better part of them, we would have probably been stuck in the stone age.
As a result of this curiosity, the discovery of digital realities began.
Digital Reality: What does it mean?
Digital Reality is a wide range of technologies and resources that connect the real world and virtual world in different forms. Just as we have the real world where we interact with physical objects, so we have the digital world where we interact with digital objects. It becomes interesting as we move on because this reality is of three different types.
Types of Digital Reality
- Augmented Reality (AR)
- Virtual Reality (VR)
- Mixed Reality (MR)
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augment means to increase or add while reality means a real event. Therefore, we can say Augmented reality means added event. For something to be tagged “added event”, that means there was an initial event. This is why AR is defined as virtually bringing a digital object into reality.
According to Wikipedia, AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. This could also be across multiple sensory modalities.
The game, “Pokemon Go” is an example of Augmented Reality. Google glasses is an example too.
Virtual Reality (VR)
This is an entirely new world created digitally. It is computer generated and it allows for user interaction. This, unlike the traditional user interfaces which are restricted to the users viewing a screen, is a type of digital experience.
Users enter into the digitalized experience that is also like a real-world or completely different from the real world. Simulation of the sense organs (eyes, ears, sometimes skin) transforms a computer into the gatekeeper of a completely new world.
Virtual Reality is of three categories and they are:
- Non-immersive Virtual Reality
- Semi-immersive Virtual Reality
- Fully-immersive Virtual Reality
Non-immersive Virtual Reality
This is the most common type of virtual reality and it has become normalized that people forget it is a type of virtual reality Any 3D experience you have is virtual reality, regardless of how minute it is.
In this type, users are still aware and in control of their physical environment while still being involved in a computer-generated environment.
A great example of this type of virtual reality is video games.
Semi-immersive Virtual Reality
Just as the name depicts, semi-immersive virtual reality is one where the user is half-in, half-out. Other than the virtual experience you have, there are no physical sensations for the experience enhancement.
An example of semi-immersive virtual reality is a flight simulator.
The difference between semi-immersive and non-immersive is that semi-immersive is more interactive.
Fully-immersive Virtual Reality
This is where the user fully experiences the most realistic simulation. The use of Virtual Reality glasses or Head Mount Display (HMD) makes this achievable. The 3D effect it creates makes the experience more believable.
The type of virtual reality is coming used for gaming or entertainment purpose.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Just as the name suggests, Mixed Reality is a hybrid of both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. According to Wikipedia, Mixed Reality is the combination of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisation. This is where physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real-time.
Microsoft Hololens is an example of Mixed Reality. It projects 3D holograms onto the lenses to produce a realistic concept of 3D images in the real world.
Mixed Reality is not too different from Augmented Reality they are used interchangeably sometimes. The major difference between the two is in what they both prioritize. Augmented Reality keeps the real world central and augments the real-world visuals with computer-generated elements (videos, graphics, e.t.c) whereas Mixed Reality brings out the best of both the real and the virtual world to create an environment where objects from both worlds can co-exist.