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Introduction to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Author: <Nathan Kassai> Email:
Date: Last modified on <01/29/2023>
Keywords: <Unity, Tutorial, Step-by-Step>

Time to complete - 10 minutes

In Session #4 of the Unity crash course, we will cover the following:

  • What is Virtual Reality?
  • What is Augmented Reality?
  • Current use cases of both
  • Final Words
  • Refresher Questions


Please make sure to finish the last session titled “Advanced Unity Programming Concepts” before starting this session! The previous session gave you a crash course in some more advanced C# programming concepts. If you have already completed the previous session, you may proceed.

What is Virtual Reality?


Even though you probably haven't been in VR yourself, you more than likely have at least heard of the term “Virtual Reality”. Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated experience which allows you to be placed in a 3D rendered virtual environment and interact with that environment. Over the past decade, VR development has skyrocketed with the introduction of several VR headsets: Meta Quest 1 and 2, HTC Vive Pro/Pro Eye, Valve Index, Varjo XR3/VR3, etc.

While each headset differs in materials used and software, the core foundation of how VR works to generate an immersive experience is the same. These headsets have embedded stereoscopic lenses where each lens shows slightly differing images. By having this slight perspective difference in each image, your brain creates this illusion of depth!


What is Augmented Reality?

While Virtual Reality involves bringing people into a 3D virtual environment/simulation, Augmented Reality aims to bring virtual objects into our real world. One of the most prime examples of this is Pokémon Go, where people from around the world would go outside and catch Pokémon through their phone.


Current use cases of both

As previously mentioned, the use of Virtual Reality has skyrocketed! Primarily, VR has been used in the gaming/entertainment industry as we see VR being used to create an immersive and enjoyable experience. For instance, popular games such as Beat Saber and Job Simulator spiked in popularity due to the platform of Virtual Reality. Other games that weren't originally VR games eventually made a VR adaptation to allow their games to be experienced in a different way: Among Us, No Man's Sky, Half-Life, The Walking Dead, and Superhot just to name a few.


Besides gaming, VR has many other uses such as simulation training for jobs and or high skill tasks and education!

As for Augmented Reality, AR has used in lots of different fields: Social media face filters, engaging visualization tool for students, interior design, walking directions, and many more.

Well, what about in a Robotics lab? Why would we benefit from using AR and VR? Well, we use it for something known as teleoperation, which simply means a way to remotely control, in our case, a robot.

We have lot's of examples of teleoperation as seen in the video below, and in this course, we will be able to use our knowledge to remotely control our own robot!

Final Words

In the next session, we learn how to use one of the Lab's VR headsets to start creating our own VR environments!

Refresher Questions

  1. What is Virtual Reality?
  2. What is Augmented Reality?
  3. Give three examples of AR and VR

For questions, clarifications, etc, Email:

introduction_to_virtual_reality_and_augmented_reality.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/07 13:35 by nkassai