One of the big confusions in the digital world concerns the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality. Each one gets a lot of media attention. Both technologies have very high potential and that is why it’s important to understand them. We are still at the beginning of the era of these two techniques. To grasp their functioning and their particularities will be very important to exploit their full potential. Hence the purpose of this article, what are the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality?

1. What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated artificial simulation. It can be a simulation of an environment, an activity, a situation. Virtual reality refers to the creation of a virtual world in which the user can interact with his environment. The goal is to immerse the user in a virtual world so that their senses can not really make the difference between reality and virtual reality. In general, the senses targeted by this process are hearing and vision.

In order for this to be possible, a virtual reality helmet such as the Oculus Rift or others is essential. For the experience to be optimal headphones would also be necessary. Regarding virtual reality, there are two main uses:

  • To create and improve immersion in a video game, for entertainment and simply to play (video games, 3D film …)
  • To improve the training conditions for real situations. It is indeed a way to train without any risks and it is very useful for example for the pilots of the hunts or the pilots of a plane in general

Virtual reality is developing thanks to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), which is used to create series of images, and to determine what interactions are possible with them.

2. What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is a technology based on computer-generated layers. These layers are added to the existing reality to make it more meaningful. This is possible because the user can interact directly with this reality. Augmented reality is developed as an application and used mainly on mobile. This makes it possible to implement digital components in the real world. Of course, augmented reality is not limited to mobile. Maybe you’ve already heard of Google Glasses, which are nothing more than classic glasses that have been augmented with augmented reality.

The purpose of this technology is to add a virtual element to our existing reality. This is what makes it successful and what characterizes it. Regarding augmented reality, maybe Pokemon Go will be more talkative. This game gave you the impression of catching pokémons in real life. Thanks to its augmented reality feature, it gave the impression that pokémons were walking down the street. For the first time in years, we really felt like real pokemon trainers.

Augmented reality is on the move to quickly become a trend. It is currently used in many fields. Ranging from the military to the medical, passing for video games and entertainment in general. Technological industry leaders do a lot of research on augmented reality and come up with incredible things that mix real and virtual, through holograms or direct interactions with the real world.

3. Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality are inverse reflections of each other. Each technology seeks to accomplish something different for the user. Virtual reality offers a digital experience of a real-life environment. While augmented reality offers virtual elements superimposed on the real world.

4. On what points are virtual reality and augmented reality similar?


The virtual and augmented realities derive from the same types of technologies but exploit them differently. Their common goal is to offer the user an improved or enriched experience.


Both technologies are generally related to the entertainment industry. Whether for smartphone games with augmented reality, or the different applications and games available with virtual reality. In the past, they seemed to be the brainchild of a science fiction fan. An artificial world coming to life thanks to the control of the user. Technology magnates invest and develop new adaptations. This helps to improve and evolve more and more products and applications that support these technologies to enhance the user experience.

Medicine and science

In addition, virtual reality and augmented reality have the potential to change the environment of medicine. For example, this has made remote surgery possible. These technologies have already been put into practice to treat and treat psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5. How are augmented and virtual realities differentiated?


Augmented reality enhances the experience by adding virtual components like digital images, new graphics or even the feeling of a new layer of interaction with the real world. On the contrary, virtual reality creates its own reality that is fully generated and computer-driven.

Routing method

Virtual reality is usually delivered via a headset, or a control system by hand in the manner of a video game controller. These devices connect users to virtual reality and allow them to control their actions in an environment that aims to simulate the real world.

Augmented reality is increasingly used on mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The goal of this technology is to change the interactions and the graphical interest of the real world and digital images.

6. How do they work together?

Augmented reality and virtual reality are not always in opposition. They do not always work independently of each other. In reality, they are often used in collaboration to create an even more immersive environment. For example, adding vibration and feeling for interaction with graphics is considered an increase in reality. However, this is usually used within a virtual reality to make the experience more relevant and close to the real world.

Virtual and Augmented Reality are good examples of experiences and interactions fueled by the desire to become immersed in a simulated world for entertainment and gaming. Or to add a new dimension between digital and the real world. Alone or in collaboration, these two technologies are undoubtedly the beginning of an era where the real and the virtual will coexist in our society.

Mixed reality

When virtual reality and augmented reality are used together, we are talking about mixed reality. In this area, for example, we can cite Microsoft Holo-Lens, which literally seeks to improve the productivity of our real world through augmented and virtual reality. Virtual and augmented realities have their limits, whether on our phones, their ergonomics and even the qualitative aspect of interactions possible.

Of course, these two technologies are used in areas where an error is not allowed in the medical or military field. But using them separately, it would seem that one can not take full advantage of their full potential. This is where the mixed reality comes in. You will surely understand, it is a mix between virtual reality and augmented reality, all mixed with our existing real world.

This technology is not yet fully developed, but that’s what we can expect in a few years. Virtual reality at its limits, since we are totally cut off from reality. Augmented reality lacks ergonomics and is limited by technology. The mix of these two technologies gave birth to the mixed reality, offering much more possibility to our imagination. It literally enhances our real world through virtual elements, mixing both.

If you have an idea to create an augmented reality or virtual reality application, contact us! We have the ideal professionals for your project.