Don’t be Afraid of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Content From: HIV.govPublished: October 31, 20174 min read


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“Five or 10 years ago, we used text to communicate. Today, we communicate and share with photos and videos. Tomorrow, with VR, we’ll be able to communicate with experience.”.jpg

You may have heard the terms Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) used most often when talking about video and online gaming using virtual reality goggles. However, thanks to the rise in AR and VR technologies linked to social media, digital professionals predictExit Disclaimer that AR/VR will change the way we communicate, including how we communicate about health. 

At one time, AR and VR seemed like some far-off technology reserved for sci-fi, but if you’ve ever used a geo-filterExit Disclaimer or mask in Snapchat or Instagram, you’ve already used AR!

Before we dive into how AR and VR are being used, let’s talk about the differences between themExit Disclaimer:

  • AR is “a live view overlaid with information.” An AR experience uses someone’s surroundings in real-time and adds layers of tech on top. As we mentioned, the filters used in Snapchat and Instagram Stories are two good examples of AR. 
  • VR, on the other hand, is a totally immersive experience most often delivered through VR headsets and glasses. Once a user is wearing the glasses, they’re totally surrounded by a virtual world. 

We’ve already mentioned how some social media channels have started to integrate AR and VR into the apps you use every day. In addition to the camera effects found in Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, Snapchat recently launched Bitmoji avatars Exit Disclaimerthat can dance and play within your videos. Similarly, Facebook just announced that users can now ‘play with objectsExit Disclaimer’ in their newsfeeds. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Facebook SpacesExit Disclaimer: a VR experience that allows Oculus (VR glasses) owners to ‘hang out’ with their friends from anywhere in the world.

These preliminary uses of AR and VR represent a larger trend in how this technology could be used in the future. This technology is still gaining speed in the field of communication, but there are several ways AR and VR might change the way we communicateExit Disclaimer with the world around us:

  • Defy geographic boundaries. The tools can reduce geographic limitations, so we can communicate/meet without boundaries. Individuals could virtually gather to meet, learn, and discuss health issues from anywhere in the world.
  • Foster a stronger emotional connection. Instead of telling a story through traditional text and imagery, imagine if your audience could be completely immersed in the story itself. This immersion could increase the emotional connection between the story and the audience member.
  • Distraction-free, immersive experiences. Individuals are bombarded with a lot of information each day. Instead of competing for your audience’s attention, communicating with them through VR could lead to distraction-free interactions. 
  • Improve the way we communicate about health. AR and VR could create new applications that would change how we approach healthExit Disclaimer. Whether it’s a new VR tool that’s helping seniors unlock memories to tools that could help treat substance use, AR and VR technology have potential to change the healthcare experience.

As technology continues to evolve at the speed of light, there are a few ways that you can stay up-to-date on the emerging world of AR/VR: