Today the Virtual reality (VR) technology is applied to advance fields of medicine, engineering, education, design, training, and entertainment. VR is a computer interfaces which tries to mimic real world beyond the flat monitor to give an immersive 3D (Three Dimension) visual experiences. Often it is hard to reconstruct the scales and distances between objects in static 2D images. Thus the third dimension helps bringing depth to objects.
Augmented Reality (AR) that places computer generated objects on top of real world to make it more meaningful and interacting with it. The good example of AR would be PokemonGo game and IKEA app. The IKEA app uses camera so users can visualize the products being placed at their home.
VR and AR, they don’t have winners or losers as they are being better in their respective way of use. VR, for example, is terrific for gaming and watching video. Being able to fully immerse yourself is incredible, and nearly all the experiences wouldn't feel the same in AR. At the same time, the ability to interact with the physical world while seeing elements of the virtual world is fantastic for productivity and some forms of entertainment, and long term could be a default for how we interact with all kinds of computer interfaces.
Following are brief history of Virtual Reality:
|19th century||Panoramic paintings : VR technology started with the introduction of 360 panoramic paintings from 19th century. These paintings filled the viewer’s entire field of vision making it an immersive scene.|
|1838||Stereoscopic photos and viewers: Charles Wheatstone demonstrated that viewing different two-dimensional (2D) images side by side through a stereoscope gave the user a depth and immersion. The brain processes these two images from each eye into a single object of 3D. Later it was used for virtual tourism.|
|1930s||Pymalion’s Spectables, a short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum presented an idea of google-based virtual reality world through holographics, smell, taste and touch making hi a true visionary of the field.|
|1960s||Ivann Sutherland created the first VR Head Mounted Display with specialized software and motion control platforms which became standard for training.|
|1987||The name “Virtual Reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier, founder of Visual Programming Lab (VPL).|
|1993||Sega VR headset was announced for Sega Genesis console at Consumer Electronics show. However, it was a huge flop for Sega because it did not go further from prototype phase despite having four games developed for it. The prototype headgear had head tracking, stereo sound and LCD screens.|
|1995||The Nintendo Virtual boy (VR-32) marked the walkthrough of VR in public realm. It was first ever portable console displaying true 3D graphics for gaming console but it lacked software support and was uncomfortable.|
|1999||The Matrix, the Wachowski siblings’ film featured characters living in simulated world depicting VR. It was major cultural impact and introduced VR into the mainstream|
|21st century||The boom of smartphones with high density displays and 3D graphics capabilities has made a new generation of lightweight and practical VR devices possible.
The video game industry developed consumer VR unabated. Depth sensing cameras suites, motion controllers and natural human interfaces are already in market for daily human-computer interaction.
|2014||Facebook bought Oculus VR and developing a VR chat rooms for future.|
|2017||Burst of different VR devices in the commercial market.|