Augmented vs Virtual Reality

Industrial Engineer Works with Smartphone Using Augmented Reality Holographic Projection 3D Model of the Electric Generator Prototype. Development of Virtual Mixed Reality Application.

I could probably teach a course on the differences, landscapes and strategic value of both of these, but I will limit this to a relatively light write-up starting with an overview.

Augment reality is when the real-world view (i.e. like a video stream or your own real view) is enhanced with virtual objects or data.  A simple concept is that you have glasses that overlay information about stores in your neighborhood as you walk by them.  The idea is that maybe you can see the highest ranked YELP restaurant through pop-up bubbles streaming into your vision as you walk down the street. 

Virtual Reality in simple terms is an immersible digital experience.

These two technologies can be combined.  For example, virtual objects can be used to generate objects in your augmented reality.

What is more interesting is to understand how these technologies can be used in manufacturing and processing.

4 use cases for industrial Augment reality and VR

  1. VR is better for hidden spaces and hard to reach spaces like subsea, underground and outer space.  You can regenerate these spaces using laser scan, CAD or other data and modify them using virtual objects.  You can even experience these environments to get a feel for the relative size of the objects in the environment.  The value is safety, optimized planning, collaboration and simulation.
  2. Augmented reality is better for sizing modifications to existing facilities that you want to enhance.  There is an argument that both are valuable here, but my vote is that augmented is more valuable for this and is the future. Why redesign an entire chemical plant to add a few additional pipes or pumps. 
  3. VR is better for simulating and planning new builds.  If nothing exists and you want to create it, cheaper and safer to create it virtually and then run simulations, plans, training in the virtual space prior to construction.
  4. VR is better for training especially in hazardous and hard to reach places. Flight simulators are virtual realty technology.  It is safer to train a pilot virtually then it is with a real plan and real passengers

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