Augmented reality (AR) alters a real-world environment by introducing computer-generated elements, such as 3D animations, video, audio or text overlays. Virtual reality (VR) uses computer technology to create a virtual world that users can interact with. Both are emerging technologies with real-world applications in fields ranging from healthcare to the military. AR/VR engineers build these products with a skill set that may include 3D development, software design and programming languages such as C++. Engineers working on AR and VR will often collaborate across scientific and engineering disciplines. The primary duties of an AR/VR engineer may include designing, analyzing, debugging and developing AR and VR prototypes.
VR and AR technology is often used for video games and other entertainment, but it also has application in fields like social science, psychology, medical training, education, fine arts, engineering, occupational health, architecture and marketing. Whether it‰Ûªs used for surgical training, anxiety disorder treatment or in ad campaigns to sell products, the possibilities are wide ranging. Companies that work in the VR/AR field either produce hardware (such as VR headsets), software that delivers VR/AR content or the content itself. Major companies that have ventured into the field include Google, Facebook (Oculus) and Apple. With rising investment and a large number of startups pursuing virtual reality or augmented reality, this is an emerging specialization and area of growth for engineers.
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