We give you the low-down on VR and AR, the next big things in tech.
Even Kendall’s a fan
of the dog filter.
What is AR?
AR stands for Augmented Reality, and it’s about the blending of VR and real life by overlaying virtual objects onto the real world (think Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters).
Gotta catch ’em all!
Why is AR a big deal?
Do we really need to convince you of the lifechanging awesomeness that is the Snapchat dog filter? But seriously, there’s more to AR than funny masks. Imagine being able to deck out your room with virtual furniture to see what goes with the curtains, or having information about an art exhibit appear right before your eyes.
AR pets – bringing Tamagotchi
to the 21st century.
How can I get in on AR?
While AR glasses are clearly the future, smartphone screens are the only way to experience AR at the moment. There are loads of AR-enabled apps like Pokémon Go out there, but for a better idea of the full potential of AR, get your hands on the Lenovo Phab2 Pro, US$499. It has everything you’d expect from a top-tier phone, but it’s also the first to feature special software and sensors that let it do cool AR things that weren’t possible before.
For example, it can measure objects and lets you construct a chain of virtual dominos and knock them all down without having any mess to clean up. It’s not exactly game-changing, but it deserves props for nudging us into the future.
What is VR?
VR stands for Virtual Reality, and it involves immersing the user in an artificial world only she can see.
Why is VR a big deal?
The appeal of VR today seems restricted to video games, but futurists predict that virtual hangouts – where people can meet up even when they’re not in the same physical space – are going to be big in the future. Another cool use of VR is attending events without having to actually be there. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to sit front row at Fashion Week – in virtual reality, that is.
Batman: Arkham VR
How can I get in on VR?
The cheapest way to try out VR is via the flood of VR viewers available at major IT stores like Challenger. They work with your smartphone and once you’ve picked one, you can begin to search for VR apps on the App Store or Google Play. Sadly, only a handful are worth downloading (the free Google Cardboard app is a must-try). AltspaceVR Batman: Arkham VR
If you’re serious about VR, consider getting the Playstation VR headset, $649. You’ll need a Playstation 4 console, $639, for it to work, but there are more than 30 quality games on offer and the experience is vastly superior to that of the cheap VR viewers. Our fave? Batman: Arkham VR, $37, which puts you in the shoes of the Dark Knight himself.