AR vs. VR: the differences in realities

AR vs. VR: the differences in realities

At Lithodomos VR we recreate ancient historical sites with accuracy and authenticity using cutting edge technology, and then Virtual Reality to transport users into these historical places and spaces.

It is important to recognise that the immersive experience of VR is entirely different to augmented reality (AR). Each ‘reality’ changes the way you look at — and interact with — the world around you.

Augmented Reality

In essence, Augmented Reality (AR) is the umbrella term for technology that adds layers to a pre-existing ‘real-life’ scenario. The simplest way to think of AR is this: it can be an application on your phone or computer that adds videos, graphics, and sounds to your environment. A perfect example of AR is Pokemon GO, a smartphone application that was introduced in 2016. The app inserted pokemon characters into the user’s surroundings via the camera. This meant that users were seeing cute and cuddly Pikachu’s appearing on their dinner tables, in local parklands and sometimes even on top of their friend’s heads. The AR technology added a digital layer on top of the natural world.

Virtual Reality

While AR adds dimensions to an already existing reality, virtual reality (VR) creates the environment from the ground up. The purpose of VR is to transport the user into an entirely constructed three-dimensional environment which suspends disbelief. The user can manipulate and traverse the environment while feeling as if they were actually in that world.

All VR tech differs in application but all have some similarities. Our tech at LVR is three-dimensional and life-sized to the perspective of the user.

VR can be divided into two categories:

  1. The simulation of a real environment for the purposes of training and education or
  2. The creation of a fantasy environment for games or interactive stories.

You can guess which one we use the tech for here at LVR.

VR vs. AR

Due to the nature of our work, it’s important that we use VR and not AR. People use our technology all over the world, in all kinds of weather conditions. The problem with AR is that smartphones and glasses screens can be adversely affected by the glare of the sun while VR headsets remain impervious.

And while AR can certainly add to the experience of a guided tour, it’s not the right vehicle for transportation to a different world. At LVR, we want to emphasise the importance of being immersed and exploring ancient places and spaces as if you were actually there.

With VR, you can introduce the current ‘modern-day reality’ by simply lifting off your headset – the features of the ancient world will match the current world. AR can only add to and enhance an already existing reality, while, for us, the fully immersive world of VR is where the real experiences lie. That’s why we choose to use VR as the vehicle for the creation of our ancient worlds.