Virtual Reality History

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Virtual Reality is becoming very popular nowadays, however very few people actually know what it exactly is. This report presents general and technical information about virtual reality, its evolution and applications of this technology. It also provides sample pictures of machines, gadgets and virtual reality technologies.

1. INTRODUCTION

Virtual Reality is three-dimensional environment projection, generated by a computer, which a person using special technology can explore and interact with. Person who connects to that virtual place becomes part of this created world, where she is able to perform actions and manipulate objects.
Figure number 1 shows the person using virtual reality gear. Man on the picture wears head-mounted display,
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BODY

2.1. History
The first Virtual Reality machines are:
2.1.1. Sensorama
This machine was built in 1950s by a visionary cinematographer Morton Leonard Heilig. Sensorama is one of the first known examples of virtual reality technology. It was a single user console, which consisted of a stereoscopic display, emitters, stereo speakers and a moving chair. This machine allowed to watch television in three-dimensional way.

2.1.2. Headsight
Headsight was developed in 1961 by a Philco Corporation. It is the first head-mounted display. The helmet consists of a video screen and a tracking system, which is linked to a camera system. In later years similar machine was used by a helicopter pilots, it improved vision, when they were flying during a night.

2.1.3. Ultimate Display
In 1965, a computer scientist Ivan Sutherland developed Ultimate Display. Person, who used this device could see created virtual world similarly to the real world.

2.2. TECHNOLOGY
Virtual Reality Gear, which is used by people who engage into virtual reality consists of:
2.2.1. Head-Mounted Display
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Most of the head-mounted displays show a different image in front of each eye. This technology is used to show images with depth.
- Field of View. Humans have field of view of around 180 degrees, but most of head-mounted displays offer much less than this. Simple HMDs typically offer field of view of 30 to 40 degrees, when professional ones offer field of view of 60 to 150 degrees.
- Distant focus. By using optical techniques head-mounted displays have ability to show us images at a distant focus. It improves realism of images, which in the real world would be seen in a distance. Figure 3, 4, 5 – Samples of Head-Mounted Display

2.2.2. Input Devices
Any hardware device, that sends data to a computer is an input device. They allow users to control a computer and interact with it. They also determine the way in which users can communicate with a computer. Most popular input devices are: keyboards, mouse, digital cameras, joysticks, data suits and wired gloves. Figure 6, 7, 8 – Samples of Input Devices

2.2.3. Tracking
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