The five kinds of virtual reality

Understanding the differentiation between the five types of virtual reality. Examining the nuances and benefits of VR in an increasingly digital age.

By Max Burkhalter
May 19, 2022
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling technological innovation across segments of every industry. Smart device connectivity provides countless advances in communication — of which, today's virtual reality (VR) capabilities are among the most promising.

Defined as the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in an authentic, physical way – VR utilizes IoT sensors in order to replicate real-world activities.

A recent Research and Markets report estimates the global value of the virtual reality market is projected to reach $89.1 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.2%.

This article will examine the five distinct types of VR, with insight into future applications and possible evolutions.

Non-immersive virtual reality

Non-immersive virtual reality is experienced through a computer and allows a user to control characters and activities from within the software, but the environment is not directly interacting back.

Video games provide the best example of this VR technology, with players controlling avatars within the game that have their own distinct characteristics, animations and skills. Within the environment, all actions performed by the player force interactions in the virtual world.

Semi-immersive virtual reality

A hybrid of non and fully-immersive virtual reality, this technology can present in the form of a 3D space or virtual environment where a user can move on their own via a computer screen or headset.

Semi-immersive VR doesn't utilize physical movement. This immersion experience is strictly visual, with all activities in the simulated environment focused on the user.

A Mimar Studios article outlines applications in the real estate sector, with virtual home tours presenting an interesting alternative to traditional open houses.

Fully-immersive virtual reality

This type of virtual reality immerses a player equipped with wearable technology into a virtual world. The player experiences a sense of being present in a simulated environment and interacts with objects within the programmed space.

Sensors within wearable helmets, gloves or handheld devices interact with powerful computers to detect and project movement within a previously-defined environment.

The National Library of Medicine reports that VR technology could one day be utilized to perform training for complex procedures like neurosurgery.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) experiences present entities or devices that appear to be real but are actually not. With AR, a virtual entity is placed in the real world, as opposed to VR, where the user is transported to a simulated environment.

Using the camera on a smart device to view an object that appears in front of a user, but is absent when the camera is lowered from the field of vision, is an example of how this tech is currently utilized.

Home furnishing retailers implement AR in order to allow a customer to visualize a piece of furniture in their living room.

Collaborative VR

This form of virtual reality allows different people from various locations to come into contact within a simulated environment, represented by 3D or projected characters. Users can interact with one another via the use of microphones and headsets.

Applications for this technology are being implemented in the corporate world, with virtual meeting rooms conducting remote-capable business meetings.

Today's virtual reality is furthering the communication capabilities of an increasingly interconnected world in surprising ways. In the wake of a global pandemic, this focus on interaction is helping to overcome the limitations imposed by an isolated workforce.

Perle powers innovation
Perle is proud to partner with leaders in IoT technology by offering serial to ethernet solutions. To learn more about how Perle provides connectivity via industrial switches, visit our telecommunications page.


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