Virtual Reality started early in the 1950's and has continued to grow ever since.
"Virtual Reality is an immersive multimedia or computer simulated life, it replicates an environment that simulates physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds and lets the user interact in that world. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, and more" (N.A., October 12th, 2015).
Cardboard - Learn to do it yourself
In 2014 google helped make state of the art virtual reality accessible to all. Anyone can now use their phones and a cardboard cut out to create a virtual reality headset. Only in 2014 can we use cardboard to put other expensive devices to shame.
How are we using it today
Virtual reality is being used in all kinds of different ways. There are classrooms that use virtual reality to teach students science concepts. Police offers and surgeons use it to simulate scenarios that could come up in their work. Virtual reality is even being used in therapy (for example people can receive "exposure therapy" in order to try and get rid of a phobia (N.A., October 12th, 2015).
Oculus Rift "Defibralating Virtual Reality"
This day marks the start of Oculus Rifts kickstarter campaign. Lucky Palmer (a virtual reality enthusiast/creator) had set out to raise $200 000 dollars to help further development of the Oculus virtual reality head set (Oculus, 2015). He ended up raising more than ten times that amount. The idea behind this campaign was to get developers to use the virtual reality system and help improve it (Oculus, 2015). The amount of help and open collaboration for this technology was unprecedented. Ten years ago virtual reality seemed to be failing, but this certainly changed once everyone started working together determined to make it work.
Second life is one of the first massive online virtual words to be created for public use. Second life takes virtual reality to the next level by making your virtual life a reality. Users can communicate, create and essentially live their lives in this world.
The 1990's mark an important time for virtual reality in the gaming world. During this period of time Sega came out with it's first virtual reality headset (1991). Soon after Nintendo launched its own system called: virtual boy. While none of the virtual reality games were successful, it is important to note this "1st attempt at success" within the gaming world because it paved the way for what needed to change for virtual reality to be "good".
NASA's Virtual Environment Workstation
In 1985 Scott Fisher joined the NASA team to help create the Virtual Environment Workstation (Webber M., n.d.). The technology tried to incorporate facets of previous virtual reality simulations such as the sensorama (they made it multimodal). This system included a range of different technologies that became standard in virtual technology e.g. stereoscopic head-coupled display, head tracker, speech recognition, computer generated imagery, data glove and 3-D audio technology (Webber M., n.d.). It is also worth mentioning that the term "Virtual Reality" was coined in the creation of this device.
The first virtual reality courses
Randy Pausch is the founder and creator of the "building virtual worlds" course at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University). This was the first virtual reality program ever created. Randy's work inspired many students to join the field and push this technology forward.
The Sword of Damocles
The Sword of Damocles was the name given to the first virtual reality, head mounted display/augmented reality system invented by Ivan Sutherland. This device represents a time where the first experiments in virtual reality were conducted. The world created by the system was generally in wire frame and head tracking allowed users to look in different directions.
In 1957 Morton Hilig invented the Sensorama. This computer based simulation allowed users to take part in one of the first multi-sensory experiences. Users could feel wind on their face and smell particular aromas all in an attempt to immerse the user in the environment. This truly is the beginning of virtual reality.