The first reference to this technology dates as far back as the 1860s. Since then more and more revisions have been made to virtual reality. Today so much can be said about its evolution as well as the many ways that virtual reality can be applied to day-to-day activities.
Types of Virtual Reality
The two types of virtual reality are immersive and test-based networked VR (also known as “Cyberspace”). The immersive VR switches your view when you move your head. Both types are best for training but Cyberspace is picked over the former for distance learning.
These devices simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment, although, virtual reality headsets are more often utilized. It consists of a head-mounted display that allows the person using it to look around the artificial world, move around it, and interact with virtual features or items. Virtual reality easily mixes auditory and video feedback, but may also allow for other types of sensory and force feedback via haptic technology.
The Evolution Of Virtual Reality
From the 1400s
Since the 1400s, this technological system has been progressively worked on and today has many more applications heading to greater realistic success. Although, to understand where Virtual Reality is headed is to equally comprehend where it is coming from. In 1938, French avant-garde playwright, Antonin Artaud, first described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as “La réalité virtuelle” in a series of essays in Le Théâtre et son Double.
The English version of this book was titled “The Theater and its Double” which was published in 1958, and was the earliest published use of the term “virtual reality”. Another term “artificial reality” was then created by Myron Krueger, which was put to effective use since the 1970s. The term became popular in the media industry thanks to Jaron Lanier, who was known to have designed some of the first business-grade virtual reality hardware under his firm VPL Research. He also crafted the 1992 film Lawnmower Man, a production that featured the use of virtual reality systems.
Now fast track to the 2000s, a period characterised by the public’s interest in using the technology, as well as investors weighing in to see how to benefit from the commercial viability of V.R. technology. In 2001, SAS Cube (SAS3) became the first P.C- based cubic room. It was developed by Z-A Production (Maurice Benayoun, David Mohan) Barco and Clarte, and built in Laval, France.
In 2010, Palmer Luckey created the prototype of the oculus rift, produced on an imitation technology of another virtual reality headset that was only capable of rotational tracking. His headset also boasted a 90-degree field of vision that had never been seen by the public, at that time. It was the invention of that year; never had the consumer market come across a headset so dynamic. However, the headset had some distortion issues that disrupted usage.
John Carmack corrected this with software written for a version of Doom 3. This correction made the Oculus Rift indispensable and served as a basis for other designs. Carmack made the Rift public in 2012 at the E3 video game show.
The big news came in 2014 when Facebook paid $2 billion to purchase the Virtual Reality Headset but later came out to say the actual price paid for the technology was $3 billion. In 2013, Valve discovered a means of low-persistence displays, which allowed the lag-free and smear-free display of Virtual Reality content possible.
This made the headset even stronger and was once again used to design all future headsets. In 2014, Sony announced Project Morpheus (the code name for PlayStation V.R). It was a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 video game console.
In 2015 HTC and Valve announced a virtual reality headset that was made in partnership and named HTC Vive. Google also announced Cardboard which allowed stereoscopic viewing, where the user places their smartphones on a cardboard holder and wears it on their head. Google appointed its first-ever Resident Artist in its new Virtual Reality Division. That was when the campaign for Gloveone, a pair of gloves that provide motion tracking and haptic feedback, began. This project received $150,000 as funding.
2015 was a year of many virtual deals as Razer also unveiled its open-source project O.S.V.R (Open Source Virtual Reality). By 2016, over 230 companies were developing Virtual Reality-related products. These companies included Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung. By 2017, SONY filed a patent showing that it was developing a location tracking technology similar to Vive for PlayStation. It was going to be focused mainly on developing a wireless headset. Oculus later released other versions of the famous headset, naming it Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest.
This headset again beat the others and featured inside-out tracking compared to external outside-in tracking seen in other headsets. In 2020 Oculus released Oculus Quest 2 with new features like sharper screens, reduced price, and increased general performance.
According to Grand View Research, the global Virtual Reality Market will grow to $62.1 billion in 2027.
Applications of Virtual Reality
This technology is applied in different ways, such as:
- Entertainment (Videogames, movies)
- Education (Medical or military training)
- Businesses (Virtual meetings)
Although this article wasn’t written to focus on the application of Virtual Reality, it shows you the origin of this technology, with substantial advancement with the evolution of virtual reality. This is a heads-up on one technological trend you should keep in view. And if this is new to you, then welcome to Virtual Reality.