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What Is Virtual Reality?

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Virtual Reality is the buzz around these days. A very common question these days is "What is Virtual Reality?" Virtual Reality also known as VR is a three-dimensional computer generated environment experience in which the user can interact with the surroundings. This interaction is known as "telepresence" and it is this interaction that makes it unique. In other words, it is an environment created with special electronic equipment, which a user feels he is a part of without actually being there. It is created using images and sounds and can be same as the real world or it can differ from reality for example VR video games. The idea is to stimulate the human senses to such an extent that the user feels he is a part of the virtual world. In VR…show more content…
It can be traced back to the 1920's. The world's first flight simulator called the "Blue box" or "Link trainer" was developed by Edwin Albert Link in the 1920's. It was designed to work as a simulator training device for pilots. Morton Heilig who can be called as the father of virtual reality developed the first virtual reality machine "Sensorama" in 1957 and patented it in 1962. It was like an enclosed booth which displayed 3D stereoscopic images. It was the first multi-sensory or multi modal immersive product. It also had oscillating fans for blowing air, stereo sound and devices that emitted smells. In 1961 the first Head mounted display also known as HMD was designed by Philco corporation. It was called "Headsight". It was not connected to a computer but to a camera. As the person moved his head the remote camera also moved. Ivan Sutherland created "Sword of Damocles", the first HMD that was connected to a computer and not to a camera, in 1968. But it was too heavy for a person to wear and has to be suspended from the ceiling. In 1978 the first interactive map was made by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It enabled the users to take a virtual walk through of the town of Aspen,…show more content…
VPL was the first company that developed and sold some of the first virtual reality gear such as dataglove(developed along with Thomas Zimmerman) and Eyephone HMD. Eyephone 1 was sold for $9400, Eyephone HRX for $49000 and dataglove for $9000. In 1992 the first virtual reality related movie "The Lawnmower Man"was released. It was partly based on the life of Jaron Lanier. In 1995 "Nintendo virtual boy" was released in North America and Japan. It was said to be the first portable 3D display console. But its production was cancelled the following year due to some technical problems. Also, it was not very comfortable to use. In 1999 another movie based on virtual reality "The Matrix" was released. It was a huge hit and brought the topic of virtual reality into the limelight. Virtual reality is not new but it didn't reach the heights where it should have been. The reason for this is the hype surrounding it in earlier days. People expected too much from it and it didn't deliver the results so the public lost interest in it. Another reason is that earlier the technology was not so advanced and cheap as today so virtual reality gadgets were not affordable to the
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