Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

This article deals with ‘ Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For the whole syllabus of Science and Technology, you can click here.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  • Virtual Reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. 
  • The simplest form of VR is a 3-D image that can be explored interactively at a personal computer.
  • Virtual reality can be divided into:
    • The simulation of a real environment for training and education.
    • The development of an imagined environment for a game or interactive story.


Virtual Reality

1. Education

  • Virtual Reality can be used to make study more interactive in the classroom. It will help in understanding concepts and recreational activities.

2. Training

  • The usage of Virtual Reality from a training perspective is to allow professionals to conduct training in a virtual environment where they can improve upon their skills without the consequence of failing the operation.

3. Video Games

  • The use of graphics, sound and input technology in video games can be incorporated into Virtual Reality. 

4. Culture & Heritage

  • Virtual reality enables heritage sites to be recreated extremely accurately. The original sites are often inaccessible to the public, or may even no longer exist.

5. Therapy

  • The primary use of Virtual Reality in a therapeutic role is its application to various forms of exposure therapy, including treating phobia patients. 

6. Business Opportunities

  • Magic Bricks in their Mumbai Office have come up with VR technology where people will be shown and made to experience homes that Company is selling without taking clients to location.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real-time. In simple terms, it means adding a layer of digital information on top of the physical world around us. 


Augmented Reality
Military A transparent display is positioned directly in the fighter pilots view, showing the information about altitude, speed etc.
Museum Audio Guide given in Museums is also a form of Augmented Reality as it adds a layer of sound.
Google Glasses A person can get information on all the objects in his line of the site apart from many other things.
Medical During surgery, a layer of information can be added which will help the medical practitioner in taking correct decisions.
Enhanced TV experience Sports scores on TV during a match is an example of Augmented Reality.

Recently, it has been announced that India’s first augmented reality (AR) education and training institute will be set in Varanasi.

Extended Reality (XR)

  • XR is the mix of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that combine the realms of the real and virtual.
  • The term came to the limelight during the Covid-19 pandemic as Extended Reality can fill the gaps in our work environment. XR can make employees feel that they are working by sitting next to their colleagues in the office, though they are spread to geographically distant places. 

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