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Virtual Reality Part II: Augmented vs. Full-Immersion

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about virtual reality via mediums such as Oculus and Morpheus. In that blog, we focused on how this not-so-new immersion technology was making a huge comeback, impacting several industries in the near future, such as home improvement, gaming, and medicine. But what you may not be aware of is that there is a different kind of “reality” out there – augmented reality – and just like it’s full-immersion cousin, the artistry behind this technology is right up TRG’s alley. 

Though you may not be familiar with the term augmented reality, you are probably familiar with its most popularly mentioned device: Google Glass. But recently, Microsoft jumped into the augmented reality arena with their product, the HoloLens. 

The difference between augmented reality and full-immersion virtual reality is that in augmented, you are seeing and manipulating holographic-like images while remaining in your own reality; that is to say, with augmented, you can still see the room you are sitting in, only you will also see floating in front of you whatever CG images you have searched for as if they were in the room with you. With full-immersion, you’re completely submerged in whatever environment has been digitally created. 

All of this technology sounds very futuristic, but believe it or not it’s coming, and at TRG Reality, we are ready and excited for all of it. Though the immersion factor (or lack thereof) is different between the two mediums, the creation of the imagery is the same. With both full-immersion and augmented reality, CGI will be the primary way the images and environments will be rendered. 

The world of virtual reality is multi-faceted. We mentioned all of the ways full-immersion technology could be used, and augmented definitely has its place. Just imagine in the future, school children being able to put on a pair of glasses or look through a screen where they are still a part of the classroom, but can now see, enlarge, spin, and read up on priceless historical artifacts from the Smithsonian. Automobile manufacturers could manipulate a holographic image of their latest model during a brainstorming session rather than looking at a flat, static image on a PowerPoint. The everyday consumer could call up images of armchairs and literally see how they look in their living room while standing in their own living room. 

Now, there are definite factions in the technology world that will argue that one form of virtual technology will surpass the other. The full-immersion party believes their preferred medium is more of a pure virtual experience with the possibility of better graphics. Conversely, the augmented reality faction believes the ability to remain in your own environment is the key selling feature for their chosen VR. 

Either way, the end goal is to make the CG as photo-real as is possible to help enhance the realistic feel of the rendered environments and images. That is what interests us the most. We know that by staying on top of the latest news and releases of all of these VR products and technology, we will be ahead of the game when it comes time to generating the highest quality CG imagery for both augmented and full-immersion software. The way we see it, the formulaic break down is as simple as this: Virtual Reality = TRG Reality. 

Which one of these forms of virtual reality do you see making an impact in the near technological future? Give us your opinion.

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