Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. – TechTarget
This means that digital information, commonly in the form of a picture / animation, is overlaid on the surrounding environment.
For those of you who played Pokemon Go when it was still a thing you will have experienced AR personally. Pokemon Go would bring the Pokemon to life around you making it look like they where in the street / park with you (If you are looking through your phone).
As mentioned above in the TechTarget quote virtual reality creates a fully artificial environment that you are placed in and interact with. This is usually done by putting on a headset along with headphones that will submerge you into the environment. At its current development stage you can only interact by using the hand held controllers that simulate your hands in the new environment.
I am a big fan of tech, if you haven’t already realised, but I strongly believe that technology should assist us with our daily lives. Technology should be used to make our lives better and improve the possibilities of man kind. It should not be a gateway to remove oneself. Therefore, I am wholeheartedly in favour of AR instead of VR.
Personally, the idea of completely shutting of my senses to my surroundings is frightening. Whilst I may not be the most aware person I like to think I have a general sense of my surroundings most of the time.
As I am yet to thoroughly test both VR and AR my opinion may be swayed in the future as Technology advances further. Maybe when virtual reality expands to a full body movement instead of just sight and hands then it may become more interesting. To those of you who have watched Sword Art Online, if a full dive becomes a reality then I might be tempted although the risk of being trapped will forever be stuck in my mind.