VR aims to combine human senses such as hearing, touch and sight, with software and hardware to create an immersive exploratory virtual environment.

Virtual Reality

The term Virtual Reality (VR) is the combination of the words virtual and reality. The word virtual means near, while reality is what is experienced by humans. Therefore, VR means ‘near-reality’.

VR aims to combine human senses such as hearing, touch and sight, with software and hardware to create an immersive exploratory virtual environment. More technically, VR is a three-dimensional computer generated environment, which an individual can explore and interact with, as well as perform a series of actions or manipulate objects within the environment.Most commonly, VR is implemented using computer technology such as headsets, special gloves and omni-directional treadmills.

These systems aim to create the illusion of reality by stimulating human senses. VR has many current uses such as in healthcare, architecture, sports, and entertainment, and is very useful when a real-life activity could be expensive, dangerous or impractical to carry out. Virtual environments must ensure they provide responses to the user in real time as the user is exploring the space. This allows the interaction to be more free-flowing and natural.

VR originated over 70 years ago and since then, it has undergone major developments such as the first simulation device, first head mounted display (HMD) and the use of VR in the human-computer interaction (HCI) field. As technology in the 21st Century progressed, the public’s expectations for VR were over-hyped, leading to an initial scaling back in some research areas. Today, as VR is starting to live up to people’s expectations, such as VR games for PlayStation and Xbox, it is becoming a more popular tool. One recent innovation is the Google VR cardboard which is built for bite-size VR experiences and is compatible with most smartphones.

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