What is Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality?

Going into this week’s content, I felt like I had a general idea of what virtual reality and augmented reality were because of a prior class. Although I had a good idea, I still find myself getting them mixed up sometimes. I found that the biggest difference between these two is that augmented reality is digital elements of a real-world environment that are interactive and require us to use a camera on a device to give us these experiences. While virtual reality is an environment that shuts out the physical world. It is a 3D image that involves the use of other devices. I know one example that was used for AR, was the game Pokemon Go. I remember this game being a hit because it involved people driving/walking around their city to find the Pokemons. That game brought people together all over the world by connecting real-world experiences through our devices. An example that was talked about for VR is the goggles such as Oculus. As VR has grown over the last couple of years, I have seen how it has given people an experience that they cannot forget. The one-term that was very new to me, was Mixed Reality which is a combination of AR and VR, real-world and digital objects (The Franklin Institute, 2020). I learned that Mixed Reality is a newer form of technology that is not easily accessible but merges the virtual world and real-world to create new environments.

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Another interesting thing I learned is that VR is used for people’s wellness. WellnessVR helps with people’s anxiety and promotes mindfulness. I think this is something that is very beneficial especially with how much stress people experience every day. It can be used to treat psychological disorders, reduce pain, and promote emotional wellbeing (Visual VR, 2021). People can access these VR experiences through their phones as long as they have the headset. I thought what was even more interesting is that they use VR experiences at the dentist to give patients a calming experience where they can escape this environment. As we can see VR experiences can be very beneficial in our lives because they can help us reduce stress and promote mindfulness.

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I think that augmented reality and virtual reality technology are going to continue to advance and improve over time. Looking at the history of VR and how technology has developed, I am sure it will only be more effective and beneficial for people. From the few examples that I read this week, I was able to see how beneficial VR and AR for people in the workplace, school, and at home. In terms of school, I feel that VR reality can provide kids with the opportunity to see and interact with the context they are learning. Rather than having to only read and study, students can be immersed in their learning which also makes it more engaging for the students. In colleges, it can be much more effective if students learn by doing and practicing what they are learning. An example could be someone going into medical school and experiencing what they will be doing in the future. I think AR can be beneficial for students by incorporating activities on the phones. I feel that this is a way to keep the students more engaged. I think all of these pose some challenges in terms of how much technology a school has. The problem with this is that it might give certain students a way bigger advantage if they have access to this technology. As we know, VR is expensive and for that to be implemented in schools could take a lot of time and money.

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Arianna Delmoral

Student-Athlete at the University of Minnesota majoring Business and Marketing Education