Business is booming for smart glasses. But anyone who follows this topic will have noticed the increasing number of terms that describe the technology behind them. With phrases like virtual reality, augmented reality and assisted reality on everyone’s lips, it is difficult to know which technology is best suited for which purpose. But help is at hand! This newsletter contains everything you need to know.
Virtual Reality – a totally different world!
The term virtual reality refers to a so-called virtual world in which the user can move, look around and interact with their virtual surroundings. Here, the user loses all contact to the real world. Virtual reality goggles cover the entire field of vision and are not transparent. Wearing them is like diving into a parallel reality that reacts to interactions in real time. Many people know this technology from the gaming world, but these systems have long since outgrown this. Increasing numbers of companies are using virtual reality for a variety of purposes.
Walmart, for example, uses virtual reality technology in its 200 training centers in North America. Here, the virtual reality goggles are used to prepare new employees for all kinds of situations. Trainees experience the situation in a parallel reality, instead of just approaching it from a theoretical perspective.
Augmented Reality – Two realities merge!
Augmented reality is a more moderate version of virtual reality. This technology adds virtual, spatially positioned objects to the real world in real time. The real and virtual worlds therefore merge together, without the user losing touch with what is really going on around them.
Probably the best example of augmented reality is the game “Pokémon GO”. Many people spent months running around their towns and cities chasing and collecting virtual creatures that were integrated into the real world.
Augmented reality is another technology that industry has latched onto. Car manufacturers, for example, use the technology together with smart glasses to project designs in full size, in order to inspect and optimize them from all sides. Reality and virtual content are related to each other.
Assisted Reality – the perfect assistance.
Assisted reality involves providing additional useful information in a real-world scenario. This technology is ideal for activities in which merging the virtual and real worlds would present a safety risk. Many people already use assisted reality in their everyday lives. Modern vehicles use a heads-up display to guide drivers through traffic.
The additional information provided by assisted reality fades in at the edge of the user’s field of vision to aid tasks and processes. By appearing at the edge of their field of vision, the extra information does not distract the user from their task (such as driving and traffic). Just like in augmented reality, assisted reality allows the user to see both the real world around them and the virtual content. Assisted reality, however, allows the user to decide when to access this additional information. The data is not necessarily related to a certain “real” object, but instead provides contextual support for a process.
If this support is not needed, the user can ignore the additional content and concentrate fully on their primary task. If the information is required for the next step, all the user needs to do is quickly glance to the edge of their field of vision. Assisted reality is perfect for fast processes that involve lots of movement. This is why we transferred it to the smart glasses and intralogistics. The real world and virtual data are independent of each other.