What is Virtual Reality? The Future of Artificial Environment

Hey guys! Today we are going to discuss one of the finest advancements in Technology. Yes, today we will learn about Virtual Reality.

Most of you guys are familiar with VR but the majority of people don’t know what it is, how it came into existence and loads of other stuff.

So here I am, providing you the step by step explanation of what Virtual Reality exactly is.

In this article, we will discuss the virtual reality, its history, the technology used, its types and lots of other stuff.

Let’s get started!

Before bouncing off the article, do check out the bonus video at the end of the article.

What is Virtual Reality? The Future of Artificial Environment

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Virtual Reality or in short what we call is VR is simulated experience taking place in an immersive environment. From immersive here we mean is the virtual environment.

Virtual Reality is a type of artificial environment where a person what he or she wants to view. We’ll elaborate on it more in the later sections.

This virtual environment can be similar to the real world or can be a whole new different experience.

Virtual Reality has its applications in various domains which you will learn later in this blog.

Currently, VR technology uses “VR headsets” and simulated or “multi-projected environment”. Using this, it generates realistic images, sounds, and various other sensations.

These sensations simulate the user’s physical presence in that environment.

These effects are created with the help of VR headsets. Headsets consist of a head-mounted display in front of the eyes.

Moreover, these effects can be created in specially designed rooms.

VR generally uses audio and video feedback and moreover uses sensory and force feedback too with the help of haptic technology.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, there is a lot more to be explored. Let’s deep dive in the topic.

Let us first have look at the history of the VR industry.

History of Virtual Reality

The history of virtual reality can be traced back to the late 20th century when Morton Heilig built “Sensorama” in 1962.

Sensorama was a mechanical device that can engage multiple senses (including sight, sound, smell, and touch) while displaying the content.

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Heilig also developed “Telesphere Mask”. It was able to provide the complete sensation of reality.

Moreover, it provided the movement of 3-dimensional images with peripheral vision, binaural sound, smell and air breezes.

Dating back to 1970-1990

As you guys can guess, VR technology is quite new for our generation so it is easy to guess that it won’t have much impact in that period.

Moreover, the VR industry mainly provided its technology for flight simulation, automobile industry design, and military training purposes.

The major contributor to this industry was Jaron Lanier, who founded the company “VPL Research” in 1985. The company developed gadgets like DataGlove, the EyePhone, and the AudioSphere.

Moreover, the Power Glove, developed by “Mattel” became an affordable VR device of that time.

From 1990-2000

The decade of 90 saw the greatest advancements in the VR industry. As the semiconductor industry was transforming at a rapid rate, it boosted the development of VR.

The decade saw a widespread release of consumer VR headsets.

The gaming giant of that time, “SEGA” also came up with a virtual environment for arcade games and the Mega Drive console.

Moreover, “Virtuality” became the first mass-produced multiplayer VR entertainment system. The system became prominent in many countries.

The decade 90 saw a race between many gaming giants including SEGA and “Nintendo” to adapt VR gaming and make the best out of it.

21st Century onwards

The 21st century a huge advancement in VR technology. This advancement was this time directly related to investment in the existing VR technology to make it better.

Many companies including “SAS Cube” came up with the first PC-based cubic room. Moreover, companies like Google came up with “Street View”.

However, the biggest advent can be seen in 2010 when Palmer Lucky came up with a prototype of “Oculus Rift”. It was basically a VR headset that has a 90-degree rotational field of view.

Since then, a huge number of companies jumped in the competition to provide better VR experience to their consumer.

Moreover, VR technology has become affordable and easily accessible to most of its consumers. Also,  In 2014, Facebook” bought Oculus VR for $2 Billion.

A list of tech giants providing VR headsets are as follows:

  • HTC Vive by HTC.
  • PlayStation VR by Sony.
  • Oculus Rift by Facebook.
  • Gear VR by Samsung.
  • Cardboard by Google.
  • 360 VR by LG.
  • Daydream by Google.
  • Hololens by Microsoft.
  • Sulon Q.
  • Homido Virtual Reality Headset.
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Details about these gadgets are provided in our gadget menu.

MUST-READ: What are the Benefits of Virtual Reality?

Let us discuss the technical aspects of VR in brief.

Technology used in Virtual Reality

The technology of VR content is quite complex. However, we will try to keep it simple as much as possible.

So let us first discuss the software used in VR content.

  • Software

The initial software VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) came into existence in 1994. It minimized the dependency of virtual worlds on headsets.

However, in 1997, Web3D came into existence which was used for the development of a web-based 3D environment.

Moreover, the same company came up with X3D which was based on VRML Framework. However, it is an open-source platform and free to access on the internet.

WebVR is the latest software that uses JavaScript API that supports various VR devices including Oculus, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, etc.

Let us now discuss the hardware requirements of a VR gadget.

  • Hardware

Nowadays,  VR devices are based on technology which is compatible with the flagship smartphones. These include gyroscopic and motion sensors for tracking body motions.

Moreover, the hardware includes HD screens for the super dynamic display which requires small and fast processors.

Omnidirectional cameras help in capturing the VR images and Videos. It captures a 360-degree view for the viewer.

However, these videos are quite large in size so they are available in either low quality or highly compressed files on the internet.

The hardware of a VR device is basically a head-mounted display (HMD), which consists of high quality of lenses. However, the quality of the lens depends upon the technology used.

Shutter Glasses are used as a part of Active technology whereas Infitec (or polarizing filter) are used as Passive technology.

These lenses basically display the two images from different perspectives to create an immersive environment.

To provide input to the system, the user is provided an optical tracking system. These are infrared cameras. They generate the location and navigation of the user.

Moreover, these input devices consist of a 3D mouse, Wired Glove as motion controllers.

Some advanced sensory devices provide force feedback so that the user can orient himself with the 3-D world through the means of haptic and sensory technology.

In its initial years, the shooting of VR content was quite a tough job. But with the advancements in technology, VR cameras are available in the market with a variety of lenses.

Now it is time to look after the various segments in Virtual Reality. Let us find out which one seems to be more appealing and interesting.

Types of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a vast domain. Hence, it too has its types. Let us discover them one by one:

  • Simulation-based Virtual Reality

We all are well aware of Driving simulators. Right? Hence, it takes the input from the user and provides the corresponding output in the form of visual, motion and audio effects.

  • Avatar-image based Virtual Reality

In this, users can enter the virtual environment in the form of real video as well as an avatar. It is a 3D distributed virtual environment. Here people can participate on the basis of their device compatibility.

  • Projector based Virtual Reality

It helps in the modeling of the real environment for robot navigation, construction modeling, and airplane simulation.

  • Image-based Virtual Reality

It is one of the popular artificial environments. It is employed in computer graphics and various computing communities.

  • Desktop-based Virtual Reality

It involves the display of 3D virtual environment without using any special position tracking gadgets. Most of the FPS video games and training arenas are based on this modeling.

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  • Simulated Reality

In the present scenario, it is a hypothetical environment that is as immersive as the actual environment. It provides a lifelike experience. It is believed to be developed with the help of quantum computing.

Moreover, there are other domains in VR  technology such as cyberspace, mixed reality and, augmented reality. Do check out those articles too.

As guys, you read above all the domains of artificial environment seems to be really appealing as all the segments are quite unique and interesting.

But my vote goes to simulated reality. Ya, I know it is a hypothetical concept but is really interesting and achievable too.

what are your thoughts? Share your thoughts with us on our social media handles.

MUST-READ: What is the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

At last, let us have a look at the applications of Virtual Reality.

Applications of Virtual Reality

As you guys read above, some of the applications of the virtual environment have been listed but those were not the whole story at all.

The field of Virtual Reality has grown largely in 21st Century with advancements in Semiconductor Technology.

VR technology is most commonly used in Video Gaming and 3D Cinema. The first VR headsets came in the late 1990s.

However, the next generation of portable VR headsets came in the market. Tech giants such as Oculus, HTC, and Sony released these gadgets.

Oculus released Rift as its initial VR headset. Moreover, HTC released the HTC Vive and Sony released Playstation VR.

From then on, VR technology is used at an extensive rate. From sporting events to pornography, from music videos to short films, VR is being used in each of these domains really well.

Let us look out some other applications of virtual reality in brief:

  • In Medical Field

Virtual surgical environments provide training programs to medical aspirants at very low costs. VR also helps in rehabilitation programs since the early 21st century.

However, VR does provide us an artificial environment to work with but still a lot more errors are likely to occur.

  • Education and Training Programs

VR provides a simulated workplace for learners. They can develop their skills without the fear of getting failed. VR helps in military, astronaut training, airplane simulation and primary education.

Nowadays, engineers use a virtual environment to build and get a deeper insight into their project. They prefer to build a virtual prototype instead of creating a physical prototype for the sake of testing.

  • In the world of Fine Arts

With the widespread of VR technology, feature films including VR began to flourish. Moreover, VR festivals came into existence.

Also, the first VR museum came into existence in the early 1990s. However, the increase became significant in the mid of 2010.

Moreover, some museums started using Virtual content and made it accessible to all.

Let us have a look at the future aspects of Virtual Reality.

Future of Virtual Reality

Guys, as we read above, the advancements in the VR industry is appreciable. However, it is still in its crawling stage.

It is for sure that the future of Virtual Reality is bright. As people are getting aware and technology is becoming affordable, the future engineers and software designers to provide a better experience to the consumers.

Present PCs are not enough powered to run VR content. The pricing of high-end systems needs to be lowered to make the VR accessible to all.

The market of VR gaming and VR enabled smartphones will bring much better technology in the coming years.

So, it is clear that a better VR experience can be expected in the coming 5 to 6 years at an affordable price. Moreover, health issues like headaches and eye-watering will be nullified with updated technology.

In the end, I hope you found the article to be interesting and engaging.

So guys, what are your views on virtual reality? Do let me know through our social media handles.

If you have any suggestions, do let me know.

I hope you guys enjoyed the article. If you found this article worth reading, do share it with your friends.

Thank You!!