In some of the coverage of augmented and virtual reality, it feels like there are efforts to make it a “versus”: AR vs. VR, like one has to win and the other has to lose. But even though the most basic fundamentals of the technologies are similar – a graphical overlay that is directed at a single user’s experience, and that moves according to the physical movements of the user – they’re actually very different technologies.
While both can feel immersive, only one (VR) is definitely immersive, as in, the goal is to minimize other inputs. The visor eliminates other visual inputs, and often comes with headphones to control auditory inputs. In the Samsung 837 Experience in New York, VR users stand on platforms that vibrate or rock, to give movement inputs as well. Studies are starting to show that people accept VR inputs with the same visceral reactions as real life, bringing new dimensions of care to people with post-traumatic stress disorder to phobias to end of life.