AR, an abbreviation for augmented reality, is a technology which adds imaginary elements into the real world for you to interact with. Augmented reality is sweeping across all industries including education, manufacturing, retail, sports, medical fields – it’s the future. To give you a sense of how AR can transform your surroundings into a virtual experience mixed with physical, check out this video from the Italian company Dillium:
While it may seem like science fiction, AR technologies are fast becoming reality. This video gives us a glimpse of how life will look in 10 years thanks to AR. In fact, you are likely already using augmented reality. When you play Pokemon Go, use the IKEA Place app to test furniture, or send a snap with a filter, you are interacting with augmented reality. These apps are just the beginning. A future where everything around us – from cereal boxes at the grocery store to textbooks and everything in between – is interactive is rapidly approaching.
Another type of immersive technology is virtual reality, or VR. Virtual reality is a completely virtual experience delivered through virtual worlds. Unlike AR, which transforms your existing surroundings using any Smartphone, virtual reality experiences require the user to wear a VR headset. Headsets are still quite expensive (typically over $300), and limited content exists at this time, but that will undoubtedly change in the near future.
In summary, AR is the addition of non-real elements into the real world, and VR is when you enter a completely new (virtual) world. Both technologies are approaching widespread adoption, with AR leading the charge in the education space. That said, there is still a gap in quality AR resources for teachers and students. Because it can do things that no teacher or physical space can, the use of AR in education has the potential to be life-changing for both students and educators.
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