A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which participants can interact with one another and use and create objects. The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the participants take the form of avatars visible to others. These avatars usually appear as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional representations, although other forms are possible (auditory and touch sensations for example). Virtual worlds allow for multiple participants but they have difficulties of bandwidth if too many i.e. > 50 (depending on world) or avatars have a lot of animations included.
Augmented reality (AR) is a view of the real-world where elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.
Sutherland’s 1965 Vision Display was one of the first attempts at creating a window into a virtual world that aimed to:
Augmented Reality (AR) is the closest to the real environment because it consists mostly of real world images, with a minority of the images being computer-generated. Augmented Virtuality (AV) is a term for applications that create a mostly virtual world, but which includes a few images from the real world. Virtual Reality (VR) is where all aspects are computer generated.
The following examples are of Augmented Reality (AR) where additional information is computer generated and overlayed on our view of the real world. This is commonly used in sports broadcasts and weather presentations.
Augmented Virtuality (AV) creates a virtual world but includes some aspects of the real world. An example is the TV show
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds. Most current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on a computer screen or through special stereoscopic displays, but some simulations include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones. Some advanced, haptic systems now include tactile information, generally known as force feedback.
The simulated environment can be similar to the real world in order to create a lifelike experience—for example, in simulations for pilot or fire rescue training—or it can differ significantly from reality, such as in VR games.
In the past, VR headsets were bulky and uncomfortable but did allow the viewer to look in any direction and their field of view would change with their movements. Increasingly, headsets are becoming smaller, even to the size of sunglasses and contact lens VR and AR systems are in development.
Telepresence is a similar concept, in which a robotic device moves around the real world, transmitting images back to someone who could be using a VR system to experience the real world remotely. Such systems are being used in schools to enable student who are ill or unable to attend physically to continue their studies in a more interactive manner than a video feed would enable.
QR Codes (Quick Reaction) are a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional bar code) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. Bar codes are optical machine-readable labels attached to items that record information related to the item.
A QR code is read by a camera and data is then extracted from patterns present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image.
There are many websites and apps that will create QR codes and present information. This information can be a web address, and email address, some text, an SMS message, a video or audio clip, a map location, or many other possibilities.
Teachers use QR codes to create book reviews (in text, audio or video) that students can scan from QR codes placed on books. Create learning stations in a classroom where QR codes provide instructions or links to additional online resources; Treasure hunts in the school grounds with QR codes providing learning activities and hints to find the next QR code; and many other educational applications.
It is a simple process to create QR codes using websites such as QR Code Generator and then print off the QR codes for others to access the information you have encoded in the QR code using one of the many QR code reader apps available for smart phones, tablets and computers.
QR codes also exist that you can print off the code and create an animation or interactive. Many magazines, books, children's toys and games, include QR codes that provide additional interactivity such as movies, links to websites, and interactive games.
General Electric provide a series of educational AR interactives for learning about solar and wind power. Print off the QR code then using your webcam while access the website, you will see the interactive occur and can manipulate it by moving the sheet of paper containing the QR code.
AR can also occur without the need for QR codes
You can try out a pair of AR Rayban sunglasses at Virtual Mirror and there are various shopping websites that are using AR to allow a more interactive experience with products.
AR is becoming common in children's storybooks to create an enhanced and often interactive experience.
A range of interactive AR applications have been developed from human anatomy, geography, physics, to learning the alphabet
You can create a simple AR popup storybook using ZooBurst or a full blown AR interactive using ARToolkit with some drag and drop programming.
Yes another level of Augmented Reality involves location awareness, where your mobile device creates scenes based on your actual location determined by GPS or mobile phone signals. A simple example of this is car navigation systems but more involved. These can range from tours of schools and museums to the State Library of Queensland's Floodlines interactive of the Brisbane floods, and back again to cars, where AR displays can warn of traffic hazards while you are driving.
Finally, Google Glass will soon open up a range of new applications for AR, including in educatio, where your interface to the AR world will be through displays attached to glasses.