The term Virtual Reality has become very popular in the last few years. The term Virtual Reality could be broken up into two separate terms: ‘virtual’ means ‘near to’ and ‘reality’ means well ‘reality’. So Virtual Reality term could be said as something that is like or near to reality. In a more technical term, Virtual reality could be defined as an artificial environment that is created with software and is presented to user in a way that the user is forced to believe that it is a real environment.
Virtual Reality could be experienced through two senses- sight and sound. Sophisticated efforts involve some approaches such as wrap-around display screens, actual rooms augmented with wearable computer and haptics devices that allows humans to feel things.
Virtual Reality is mostly being developed for the use in any one of the two spheres:
- Simulation for real environment for training and education.
- Development of imagined environment for game or interactive story.
The Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) allows developers to specify the images and the rules for their displays and interaction using textual language statements.
How is Virtual Reality Achieved?
Virtual Reality is usually implemented using the computer technology. There are a variety of software systems that could be used for this purpose such as headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. Virtual Reality stimulates our senses together to give us an illusion of reality. Virtual Reality must take our physiology into account. An example could be considered as: human field of vision does not look like a video frame. We have 180 degrees of vision and we are mostly not aware of the peripheral vision.
Implementation of Virtual Reality must have the combination of Hardware, Software, and sensory synchronicity just correct to achieve sense of presence. This allows users to have the feel that the environment is actual present.
Developing Virtual Reality seems like a lot of effort and it is, but it is worth the effort. Virtual Reality has many other more serious applications as well. It can be new and exciting in areas that impact our day to day lives.
Characteristics of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality must have some indifferent qualities that makes it stand out in the market.
- Believable: While developing Virtual Reality, developers must focus on giving user’s the feel that Virtual Reality is their own world and nothing different.
- Interactive: The Virtual World must move with the movement of the user.
- Computer generated: Virtual Reality must have realistic 3D computer graphics fast enough to make believable, interactive, alternative worlds that change in real-time as we move around them.
- Explorable: Virtual Reality Environment needs to be big and detailed enough for users to explore.
- Immersive: A Virtual Reality must be able to engage both body and mind.
Types of Virtual Reality
According to what requirements the Virtual Reality environment fulfils, the Virtual Reality can be divided into five categories. They could be stated as:
- Fully Immersive
- Augmented Reality
Since the blog does not cover advanced topics on Virtual Reality, we will not be discussing about the sub categories in details
Applications of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is not merely something developed for entertainment of gamers or people. It can be a lot more useful. Virtual Reality can be used in places where it is too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications trainee surgeons, Virtual Reality allows people to take virtual risks to gain real world experience.
Some fields where Virtual Reality could be used into are:
- Scientific Visualizations
- Industrial Design and Architecture
- Games and Entertainment