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AR/VR_en

Logo https://story.1001wahrheit.de/ar-vr_en

Today, the borders between real and virtual worlds are becoming increasingly blurred. This is due to new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Interest in these technologies is high and the number of applications is increasing daily. But are the technologies really so groundbreaking? And what potential do they have for the future? Learn more in this module.
  
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Slip through the city in a giant slide? Anything is possible in virtual worlds. In the video you will receive an impression of what virtual reality is.

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Virtual reality (VR) is a world created by a computer. People enter this world with the help of so-called VR glasses. When the users put the glasses on, they can no longer see the real world. They only perceive the virtual world.  

In virtual reality, users can see and often move in any direction. Their movements are transferred directly into the virtual world – when the user turns his head to the left in the real world, he also looks in this direction in the virtual world Diving into virtual reality conveys the feeling that what you see is real. This feeling is also called “immersion”. 

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Before/after view

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Think about it before you continue scrolling: what are the advantages of such an application?

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In augmented reality (AR), reality is supplemented with additional digital information. Reality can be augmented, i. e. enhanced, in two ways: 

On the one hand, digital information can be displayed on a screen (e. g. on a smartphone or tablet). The device's camera captures reality so that special AR content such as text, videos, images or virtual objects are directly displayed in the context of reality.

The digital information can also be displayed directly in front of the user's eyes: AR glasses are used for this. There is a small screen inside the glasses. In this way, digital information reaches the user's field of vision directly.

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In order to experience virtual and augmented reality, you need to use special devices.

Move your mouse over the symbols on the next page. You will find further information on the individual devices.

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AR-enabled Smartphones and Tablets

Newer smartphones and tablets enable the display of AR content – i.e. virtual objects merge on the display with reality. The smartphone cameras “scan” reality and immediately use the digital content. For example, an AR app can display new furniture directly in a specific room.

Virtual Reality Glasses

VR glasses are required to immerse oneself in virtual reality. In addition to the glasses, controllers are also used. With the help of these controllers, users can move objects in the virtual world – e.g. they can “pick up” and “store” them. Other special sensors and tracking systems such as “data gloves” enable precise control in the virtual world.

Head-up Display

The “Head-Up Display” is often used in vehicles such as cars or airplanes. Additional information such as speed or route descriptions are projected onto a glass panel in the driver's or pilot's field of vision. Pilots no longer have to look down during a flight, for example, and thus receive important information without diversions.

Smart Glasses

Data glasses or “smart glasses” make elements of augmented reality (AR) visible. Additional information such as photos, texts or graphics are faded directly into the user's field of vision – either through a small screen in the glasses or through a projection directly into the eye.

Holography Glasses

Holographic glasses not only display information in the user's field of vision. Parts of reality are augmented or even replaced with virtual elements (holograms). A digital board game, for example, can be faded in and played directly on a real table.

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The market for VR glasses continues to grow. Especially in the video game industry, glasses are advertised as a technology for the living room. Currently, a large number of different devices are available in a wide range of prices.

An easy and inexpensive way to experience virtual worlds is with the cardboard glasses from Google. You can buy them for under 10 Euros. Once you have assembled them, you simply place your smartphone with the corresponding app into the cardboard glasses. Samsung has developed a similar pair of glasses. However, for the “Samsung Gear VR” you also need the corresponding smartphone.

A lot of exciting applications and games have already been developed for higher priced VR glasses such as “Oculus Rift”, “HTC Vive” or “Playstation VR”. To use the glasses, you need either a powerful computer or, in the case of Playstation VR, a Playstation console.

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Ikea Place (AR)

With Ikea's official AR app, furniture and decorative items can be tested in your own home before you buy them. The app shows the desired object on the display at exact the place you want it to stand in your home.

Google Cardboards (VR)

The app “Google Cardboards” for the glasses of the same name is a collection of short VR applications. With it, users can for example, visit an art gallery or travel through the Arctic with an arctic fox.

Sky Guide (AR)

“Sky Guide” is a very popular app for hobby astronomers. Using an AR function, the app recognizes constellations in the night sky via the camera. The name and the constellation are then shown on the display. The app can also differentiate satellites from stars or planets.

Within (VR)

Exciting stories and unforgettable experiences - the VR app “Within” promises this and more! The content designers use the app primarily for storytelling and are constantly expanding it.

Discovery VR (VR)

Go lion-watching in the savannah, fly through canyons or experience life at the other end of the world - the “Discovery VR” app makes it possible. 360° videos that can be viewed with the VR glasses play a particularly important role here.

WWF Free Rivers (AR)

The AR app from the environmental protection organization WWF displays a river landscape on any table. In the app, users can change the course of the river and the surroundings - e. g. by building a dam. The consequences can be seen immediately in the app.

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Virtual reality is on everyone’s lips in the gaming industry. Large trade fairs such as “E3” in Los Angeles or “Gamescom” in Cologne advertise the opportunities offered by the technology. 

The possibilities are endless: in the video game “Moss” for Playstation VR, for example, you are accompanied by a small mouse that speaks and cooperates with you in the virtual world again and again. In the game “World of Tanks” you can take part in tank battles in war zones. But many people also see dangers in VR - precisely because the worlds are becoming more and more real.

Do video games have to become more and more realistic?

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In schools, universities and in everyday life we use digital media as a matter of course to further our education. Will augmented and virtual reality also play a role in the future?

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Journalism quickly recognized the potential of technology. After all, the users are very closely involved in the coverage.  

However, the proximity can also be dangerous: according to journalist Eva Wolfangel, the striking images and experiences “play with their user’s empathy”. That is, they play on their compassion. People are always being influenced – positively or, when necessary, negatively.

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The project “Clouds over Sidra” impressively illustrates the effect of virtual reality. The project shows a day in the life of twelve-year-old Syrian Sidra in the Jordanian refugee camp Za'atari. This can perhaps help understand the worries and fears of the refugees.

According to director Chris Milk, a film like this uses the peculiarities of virtual worlds to consciously draw attention to injustices. The people who can actually change the world – e. g. politicians – can be there at first hand. This enables them to have a better idea of how those affected feel. Experiences in the virtual world may then have an impact on their decisions. Watch the video Sidras World in 360°.

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In virtual reality, people are not only closely involved. They experience situations that they would usually not be able to experience. 

Imagine being able to see what blind people can only see through other senses. What would that kind of world look like? How would it feel? 

ARTE Creative's “Notes on Blindness” project tries to convey this feeling through the diary of a blind person. The app is available free of cost for Android and iOS.

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Anything but boring: with virtual reality, history, politics or biology are becoming more tangible than ever before. Have you always wanted to know what it felt like on a medieval battlefield? Virtual realities make it possible. 


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Augmented reality makes it possible to examine the human body everywhere – without operations. This helps aspiring doctors, for example, to learn technical medical terms. In the video you can see how this type of application could look in the future.

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A study in Germany shows that about one in six Germans has already experienced virtual reality. However, one third of Germans rule out regular use for themselves. Why is that?

Read on to find out why these technologies can also cause doubts and fear.


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Imagine you are walking through a pedestrian zone. No one is on the street. All you see behind every window are people wearing VR glasses. No one speaks with anyone. 

Many people are afraid that virtual reality will lead to people preferring to spend their time there and not in the real world. For outsiders, it is simply not clear what people see, experience or do behind their glasses. Those who are in virtual reality live alone and no longer need company. 

Will we no longer need the company of real people due to virtual reality? Will this turn everyone into a single player in real life?

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Imagine you are at a job interview. The person sitting across from you is wearing smart glasses. After each of your answers, your conversation partner waits a moment and then formulates a new question. You have the feeling he knows more than you do. 

Many people are afraid of a situation like this and ask themselves: which information does the person with the smart glasses have that I do not? What are the smart glasses recording? In the future, will smart glasses be able to recognize when I am lying or telling the truth?  

What impact would this have on you in a situation like this? What kind of feelings does this trigger in you?

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Augmented and virtual reality will become increasingly important for the economy in the future. The technologies are particularly useful as a means of support for specialists. But how will they change the working world?

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Many employees work in dangerous working environments. In laboratories, for example, it is often necessary to work under isolation and with the highest safety precautions.  

Augmented and virtual reality can help people recognize dangers more quickly in the future. Warnings are displayed directly in the employees' field of vision. In addition, drills for dangerous situations can be repeated as often as desired in the virtual world.

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Working and cooperating internationally is always difficult when teams want to discuss, meet or get to know each other. This could change in the future with the help of so-called “VR conferences”. Virtual space becomes a conference room - long journeys become the exception.

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Nobody likes to buy a pig in a poke – a purchase decision is significantly influenced by what a customer sees.  

Just imagine: you could enjoy the view from your hotel room even before your dream holiday begins. Or you could sit in your new living room before it has even been built.  

The marketing industry has already realized: a virtual or augmented world says more than a thousand words.

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The British journalist Alex Hern used virtual reality at work for one day. His conclusion: the technology is particularly useful for international teams and certain professional groups.  

For his own work, he found it rather stressful – aching eyes, concentration problems and problems switching between virtual and actual reality. But the potential is there, says Hern, the technology simply has to become more user-friendly.

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Many people are afraid to get lost in virtual and augmented worlds and not find their way back to reality. However, the technologies can have many advantages for everyday life.  

On the following pages, you will accompany four people in their daily lives. Learn how augmented and virtual reality enrich their lives.

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In the hospital, Carla has to do many different things at once. Some patients want to know whether their therapy is progressing or have questions about upcoming operations. At the same time, however, Carla must also make arrangements with colleagues to ensure the best possible treatment for her patients. 

Think about itbefore you continue scrolling: How could the technologies change the doctor's profession? Which advantages would you have as a patient?

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Augmented and virtual reality support doctors in planning their work. The technologies help patients, for example, to better understand therapies and operations. They also enable operations to be planned precisely and various methods to be tested safely.  

The video will provide insight into virtual operation planning.

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“Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.” – Paul Klee 

As an artist, Frida is always on the lookout for new inspirations - no matter whether she paints or draws. On the Internet, she encounters virtual worlds. She cannot stop thinking about the possibilities virtual reality could have for her art. 

Think about it before you continue scrolling: Can art enter virtual worlds? What could this kind of art look like?

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Art has always aspired to transport us to foreign worlds. Huge panorama paintings such as the “Panorama of Racławice”, from the Polish city of Wroclaw, are supposed to integrate the viewer directly into the action. Virtual worlds can also achieve this. 

The American artist Chris Milk sees VR as “the last medium for storytelling”. As an art form, no other medium has the ability to close the gap between the viewer and the artist like virtual reality.

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Helping people has always been Theresa's goal. As a psychotherapist, she is sensitive to the fears, worries and problems of her patients. Fears and phobias in particular can be treated effectively. In order to achieve success, patients must be open to therapy. However, it is often difficult to create the right conditions for this. 

Think about it before you continue scrolling: Which possibilities do augmented and virtual reality offer in psychotherapy?

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There are many reasons for developing fears and phobias. However, therapy is often very time-consuming and expensive. This is where virtual worlds can help. Patients do not have to be exposed to any danger (e.g. actual heights) and are thus, often more motivated to start therapy voluntarily.

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Designing, planning and building buildings is Alexander’s passion. He has always tried to use the latest trends and technologies for his projects. His ambition is to make his buildings as modern and efficient as possible.

What new possibilities does Alexander have thanks to virtual and augmented reality?

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On paper, every building is perfect. But is that also the case when people actually enter it?

In virtual and augmented worlds, the dimensions of space - i.e. size and depth - are realistically represented. If the desired effect is not achieved during planning, the architects can immediately try out alternatives.

It is often difficult for customers to imagine a finished project. Virtual and augmented reality, on the other hand, present building plans very vividly. This makes it possible, at a very early stage, to adapt the plans to the wishes and ideas of the customers.

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The film “Ready Player One” by director Steven Spielberg conjures up this image of the future:

In the future, humanity only lives in the virtual world. They earn their money and meet other people there. The more beautiful the virtual world, the more chaotic and broken reality is. That is why more and more people are withdrawing into the OASIS, the digital world.  

But is a future like this even realistic? What do you think? Can virtual and augmented realities become dangerous for people?   

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Your journey through the world of virtual and augmented realities ends here. Foreign worlds, fantastic journeys or helpful support for your working life are waiting for you behind the next pair of VR or AR glasses. Are you willing to take the plunge?

You can find a summary of the module in the download section.

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