VR is short for virtual reality, a technology that integrates computer graphics technology, computer simulation technology, sensor technology, and display technology. It creates a virtual information environment in a cyberspace to enable user immersive experience, and offers sound interactions with the surroundings that can inspire new ideas. In a word, immersion, interaction, and imagination are three distinct characteristics of VR, while the core to the technology is modeling and simulation. The year 2016 is known as “the year of VR”.
With provision of feasible solutions, VR technology has been widely applied in urban planning, interior design, industrial simulation, historic sites restoration, bridge and road design, real estate sales, tourism teaching, water conservancy and electric power, geological disasters, and educational training. As China is to adopt 5G network within the year, VR industry enjoys a promising prospect, considering that 5G will significantly reduce “stuttering” in the VR experience with high reliability and low latency, and improve simulation levels and user experience.
In recent years, with many breakthroughs in key technologies in VR, China has seen expanding market size and extending industrial application of the technology. In terms of content, immersive narration contents of good quality have been created, along with greater exchanges and communications with global peers. In terms of hardware, many Chinese companies are leading the world in VR terminal products shipments, making China the most important VR terminal products production base in the world. It is estimated that by 2021 China’s VR market will reach a total value of 54.45 billion yuan($7.73 billion), at an annual compound growth rate of 95.2 percent.
As of now, VR has achieved significant development. In China, VR promotions can be found in almost every shopping mall, indicating a strong momentum in the VR industry. A good attempt of the technology can be a VR game with the garbage sorting theme, or the first long-distance hepatobiliary surgery completed with 5R+AR/MR in Shenzhen People’s Hospital. Generally speaking, VR application in videos and gaming is relatively mature, but it holds vast potential and bright prospects in healthcare, education, and social governance.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that enriches the physical world with virtual information and widely uses multimedia, three-dimensional modeling, real-time tracking and registration, intelligent interaction, sensing and other technical means. It simulates virtual information generated by computers, such as texts, images, 3D models, music, and videos, and applies them to the physical world, where the real world and the digital information complement each other to realize augmentation. AR technology creates a composite view of physical environment and virtual objects at the same time or space. The technology was proposed in 1990. With development of AR technology, it has seen greater integration with industries, such as design, marketing, education, healthcare, travelling and culture. AR is redefining how things are conceived and done in many industries.