Virtual Reality

Explanation of virtual reality

(Pocket-lint) - Virtual reality, abbreviated as VR, is the newest buzzword in the marvelous world of technology. It's not a new technology, but that doesn't mean it isn't exciting.

You've come to the right place if you're curious about what Virtual Reality (VR) is and why you should be so concerned about it.

We are about to explain what virtual reality is, how it operates, and what devices are currently available that utilize this amazing technology that you should be aware of.

What is virtual reality (VR)?

Initially, you will need to understand what virtual reality (VR) is. The clue is in the name: it is the experience of a world that does not exist. However, we are not referring to getting lost in a book or daydreaming about a photograph or painting, even if these are technically also forms of virtual reality.

Through the use of a head-mounted display and some form of input tracking, a computer-generated virtual reality enables the user to experience and interact with an artificial 3D world. The display will typically be split between your eyes, creating a stereoscopic 3D effect with stereo sound. This, along with the technology and input tracking, will create an immersive, believable experience, allowing you to explore the computer-generated virtual world.

VR creates the mental and physical sensation of being there. You turn your head, and the world follows, so the illusion created by whatever world you are in is never lost.

If you are watching a movie in a theater and a devastating earthquake occurs on-screen, the momentary fear you may feel will quickly vanish if you turn your head to see the person next to you eating popcorn. Films and books transport you to various fictitious worlds, but your actions have no effect on these worlds.

There are numerous varieties of virtual reality, ranging from fully immersive to non-immersive to collaborative to web-based. Everyone is excited about the fully immersive variation of virtual reality because this is the explorable and interactive 3D computer-generated world that can transport you to places that reality may not allow, such as walking on Mars or driving a sports car through the mountains.

What is the origin of virtual reality?

Virtual reality as it exists today has been around for decades. To give you an idea, the first head-mounted display wasn't an Oculus Rift, despite this being the device that arguably drove the VR renaissance; it was a 1960s device called Headsight. However, there were non-digital predecessors, all the way back to 360-degree paintings, that had the same objective: to transport the user to a different location. VR is the tech sage, and not just because it's ancient.

Throughout its 200-year history, the technology has been applied to a variety of fields, including science, medicine, pilot training, and assisting architects in presenting their latest skyscraper, allowing people to walk through it before a single brick is laid.

Yes, the current emphasis is primarily on gaming, but that is not the only use for virtual reality. As the technology advances, the number of applications for virtual reality is likely to increase.