4 Ways Augmented and Virtual Reality are Utilized Today

What is virtualization?

Virtualization refers to the process of creating a virtual version of an actual thing, such as an object, person, or location. This process is utilized for virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Thanks to advancements in modern technology, virtual and augmented reality technologies have found numerous applications in several different fields. But to fully understand how augmented and virtual reality can be utilized, it is important to note the similarities and differences between the two technologies.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality refers to a fully 3D-environment created by a computer. By utilizing certain types of computer systems and equipment, such as a virtual reality helmet, users are fully immersed in this virtual world and able to interact with the computer-generated environment.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality works by combining the real world with virtual reality. This means that computer imagery and other virtual details are integrated into real world environments, creating a combination of virtual details and real life objects. Technologically enhanced goggles, for instance, may be used to view certain real world objects accompanied by virtual images.

Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality


While virtual reality can be used to recreate virtual duplicates of popular tourist destinations, augmented reality can be utilized to enhance the experience of actually visiting these places. Tourists can use the cameras on their smartphones, for example, to view certain historical sites with the added imagery of facts and information. This is achieved by using image recognition and GPS technology, as well as access to online data. Visitors can view an historic building through their smartphones, for instance, and see what it looked like in the past.

Museums and other tourist sites also provide smartphone applications specifically designed as part of their tour. Visitors of an art exhibit can view a painting through their smartphone and learn how it was created, read a biography of the painter, and receive other types of interesting facts. Augmented reality can also assist in educational settings by providing students on a field trip with pertinent information.


The military is using augmented and virtual reality for training troops, as well as providing assistance during actual combat.

The military has found that military-themed games set in a virtual reality environment can be used for military training. Combat situations likely to be encountered by troops can be recreated for training in a no-risk environment. Virtual reality can also be used to recreate actual weapons and tactical equipment within these virtual areas.

Augmented reality is used to assist soldiers in real world combat by providing them with information concerning the location of enemies and other types of critical data. One such military application is the Heads-Up Display (HUD), which refers to the display viewed by fighter pilots while operating a plane. Augmented reality can provide critical information concerning altitude, air speed, and the location of other planes, in addition to other types of data. Troops on the ground can also utilize augmented reality by using the Head-Mounted Display (HMD), which provides information on enemy locations and other important details while in the middle of a combat situation.


The medical industry has found numerous applications for virtual reality, from training medical students to performing complex surgeries. Virtual reality, for example, can help train medical students by allowing them to perform surgical procedures as recreated by virtual reality, which provides extensive training without harming any patients.

Augmented reality can be combined with other types of medical imagery, such as MRI and X-ray scans, to create 3D virtual models with added information concerning the condition of each patient. Augmented reality is especially useful for neurosurgeons, since brain surgery must be performed in an exact manner. Augmented reality can assist neurosurgeons by providing information regarding the location of each surgical procedure and other types of important medical data.


While virtual reality can be used to create a virtual map or environment based on actual locations, augmented reality can be used to provide navigational details of routes when viewed through an actual camera. By combining augmented reality with the information received by a GPS system, such as traffic and weather conditions, road closures, and other travel-related data, drivers can receive important information concerning the route directly in front of their vehicle. Augmented reality is especially useful for navigation, since traffic and other conditions can change while a driver is on route to a location.

The Future of Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented and virtual reality each has its own set of benefits, which can be applied in various situations for a growing number of industries. Computer science and other technological fields are discovering more exciting ways of incorporating this technology into our daily lives.

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New Jersey Institute of Technology offers an online master in computer science program so students can learn the latest concepts and techniques in Computer Science, and develop the skills to take the world in imaginative new directions.

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