Virtual reality is a technology that replaces the real world with a simulated world. It incorporates mainly auditory and visual benefits to immerse the user in an artificial environment. The goal of virtual reality is to create an illusion so realistic, that it gives its users a sense of being physically present in another world. However, in contrast with augmented reality, the artificial environment generated by computers is not overlaid on real world but it still is considered a real environment in which we operate within.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power.
Virtual reality is most commonly used in entertainment applications such as video gaming and 3D cinema. Consumer virtual reality headsets were first released by video game companies in the early-mid 1990s. Beginning in the 2010s, next-generation commercial tethered headsets were released by Oculus (Rift), HTC (Vive) and Sony (Playstation VR), setting off a new wave of application development. 3D cinema has been used for sporting events, pornography, fine art, music videos and short films. Since 2015, roller coasters and theme parks have incorporated virtual reality to match visual effects with haptic feedback.
How does virtual reality work?
Virtual reality is an immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three dimensional world, making it suited to games and even movies.
There are a number of technologies that make this possible, but the most common is called VR or virtual reality. The basic idea is to simulate the vision, hearing and touch that we experience in real life.
So how does it work? The key to creating the illusion of virtual reality is through something called mid-air haptics. This combines two types of technology: optical tracking and tactile feedback. Optical tracking is used to measure the position and orientation of your hands, while tactile feedback provides physical sensations when you touch something.
Virtual reality headsets and how they work.
Virtual reality is when you use technology to create a simulated environment and experience.
You can be inside a video game, or watching 360 videos of places around the world.
When you put on a virtual reality headset, you’re looking at two small displays that are about an inch in front of your eyes, with lenses between them and your eyes. The lenses make the images look bigger, which tricks your brain into thinking you’re seeing something larger than you really are. This gives you the sense that you’re actually in an environment.
Some virtual reality headsets use your phone as their screen and others have built-in screens (or you can connect it to a TV). They also have sensors built-in to track where you move your head, so you can look around the virtual world.
The best part of virtual reality is that it’s not just for gaming — there are lots of cool things to do with it! Here are some examples:
Visit other countries – A 360 video of Paris lets you look out over beautiful rooftops and walk through a museum with famous artists’ paintings all around you. Or take a wild ride in a kayak down white water rapids.
Travel to outer space – Ever wanted to go
Virtual reality glasses.
Virtual reality glasses or goggles are becoming increasingly popular in the gaming and entertainment spheres.
Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.
This is primarily achieved through two components:
A head-mounted display (HMD) which contains a small screen in front of each eye, or two larger screens which provide separate images for each eye. These provide a stereoscopic 3D image by angling the two screens to mimic how each of our two eyes views the world ever so slightly differently. They also contain lenses which adjust their focus to match how far away objects are from your eyes.
Special input devices which allow you to interact with the virtual world. For example, these can include gloves fitted with sensors that detect finger and hand motion, or shoes equipped with sensors that detect walking direction.
Virtual reality goggles.
A VR headset fits around your head and over your eyes, and visually separates you from whatever space you’re physically occupying. Most VR experiences place you in a completely artificial environment, but some simulations enable you to travel virtually to real places. Virtual reality can be used for entertainment (i.e., video games) or practical purposes (i.e., medical or military training).
To enter and interact with a VR world, users typically wear a VR headset. There are several types of headsets available, including HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both of which require high-end gaming PCs to run. There are also standalone mobile headsets, like the Google Daydream View, Samsung Gear VR and the upcoming Oculus Go (which won’t require a phone or PC), but they offer less graphical power than the PC-enabled ones.
VR is still in its infancy, but there’s little doubt that it won’t eventually be a major part of the future gaming and entertainment world. So if you’re intrigued by virtual reality now, don’t say we didn’t warn you when it becomes an integral part of your life ten years down the road.