What Is the Difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

Augmented reality in real estate

As technology continues to advance, so does the field of virtual and augmented reality. These two terms are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among those trying to understand what they are, what they do, and how they differ. In this article, we will define augmented reality and virtual reality, delve into their advantages and disadvantages, and explore case uses of each in architecture.

Virtual reality world was shook in a good way as Apple presented the new Apple Vision Pro headset which has an outstanding technology which takes virtual reality to next level and it gets even more user friendly. You can now fully control your virtual world with eyes and hands, no need for some kind of controllers or any other additional tools. In the future virtual reality is going to be much easier to use and control and that is why it is important to start learning and using it right now.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to a computer-generated extension of the real world that modifies an individual’s perception of the environment. In simple terms, it involves overlaying digital elements onto the real world. AR technology uses a camera, computer, and display device to give the user an enriched view of their surroundings. Unlike virtual reality, all elements of augmented reality interact with the real world.

Augmented Reality can make our life much easier as you can see much more information by simply walking in the street (coffee shops information, museum information,  etc.), but is as well extremely helpful in learning processes or on e-commerce platforms where you can see exactly how the new sofa will look in your apartment.

What is Virtual Reality?

Apple vision Pro and virtual reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar or entirely different from the real world. The technology uses a combination of computer-generated graphics, sound, and sensory stimuli to create an immersive environment. Users are required to wear head-mounted displays that stimulate their vision and often require handheld controllers or gloves to interact with digital elements – but not with Apple Vision Pro.

Virtual Reality helps you to completely immerse yourself in a new created world where you can walk around, move objects, hear sounds and so on.

In the future Virtual Reality will be pretty much indistinguishable from the real world as the resolution of headsets is getting better and better each year, but as well the software which is used to create virtual worlds is improving as well. For example, Unreal engine, the software we use to create virtual tours, is so advanced that you can create virtual words with rain, snow, cracks on the street, and many other things. Really, like real world.

Pros and Cons of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality comes with several benefits that surpass other technologies. AR technology enhances, augments and improves the quality of the perceived real world. The technology allows individuals to experience digital elements in the real world, bringing learning into a whole new dimension. For example, IKEA’s furniture app that uses AR technology to enable users to visualize what furniture would look like in their space. You can simply take the model which is provided by IKEA and ‘put it’ via your phone screen in your room. And voila – you see how it looks in real life. While doing that, you can change colors or materials of the sofa as well.

One major disadvantage of AR technology is that it is hardware-dependent. It requires users to use a camera, computer, and display device that can prove to be costly. Additionally, the technology depends on how well the camera captures the real world, meaning that poor camera quality could significantly affect the AR experience.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality offers unmatched flexibility in simulating different environments, encouraging mental simulations, and providing real location training. It allows individuals to experience situations and events that would otherwise be impossible. Its application in entertainment and gaming has been particularly notable. As the technology continues to advance, it has also found its way into medical training, therapy, and research.

However, the immersion level provided by VR can be intense, leading some users to experience motion sickness, vertigo, and other side effects that can last long after a session is over. If you use VR for the first time, do not try to go around very fast and spend too much time.

Similarly, VR requires equipment such as external sensors or cameras that can also be expensive. For example the newest Apple Vision Pro technology will cost from 3500 USD.

Use cases of Virtual Reality in Architecture

Virtual reality in architecture

Architecture is one of the many industries that have realized the potential of VR technology. Architects can transform their 2D designs into immersive VR simulations. By using VR technology, architects can present their clients with a realistic simulation of a proposed building or space, allowing them to ‘walk through’ the virtual space.

You can actually walk, look around, move objects and so much more in the future apartment or house. Just put on a headset and you will see how your future home can look like.

VR can also help architects explore their designs better. They can test various concepts and layouts before beginning the final construction process. Through VR, architects can visualize their projects in detail and test their designs in different contexts, such as different lighting conditions and other environmental factors.

Use cases of Augmented Reality in Architecture

AR offers architects many opportunities to engage their clients in unique ways. One of the most significant advantages of AR is that it is interactive, providing architects with an excellent tool for explaining their designs to clients quickly. AR technology allows architects to overlay 3D models of their designs onto the existing site. Clients can then see how the building will look in its desired setting and how it blends with the surrounding environment. Using a phone or tablet you can actually go and walk in the building in the site where the building will be built. Just move your phone around, see the ceilings, move through the doors, go outside. It is astonishing what the technology can do these days.

AR technology can also enhance collaboration between architects and builders. Contractors can use AR design models to get a clear picture of the project’s goal and how they will implement it.


In conclusion, AR and VR are two different technologies that have a lot of overlap and yet have very different uses. AR enhances the real world, while VR provides virtual experiences. Architects can use both technologies to create and present designs in unique ways. Though they each have some cons, the pros of these technologies outweigh the negative effects.

As technology advances, the applications of AR and VR will continue to expand, introducing new opportunities to different fields worldwide. For now, though, it’s essential to understand the difference between these two technologies to discern which is best suited to your requirements.

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3D exterior visualization of the city

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