Virtual Reality
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Virtual reality has got to be one of the most fascinating advancements in technology ever made. Although the idea has existed for centuries. If we break VR down to simple illustrated illusions then gazing over a history book will reveal how this idea has existed long before modern technology was even a thing we might then see it as going back to the Egyptians and Romans who created illusions to entertain the public and for ritual purposes, using architecture, art, music and light. 

We have improved quite a bit since then but the basic idea remains the same. Except for reviewing a certain VR product like the apple vision pro, we will trace the history of VR all the way back to the 60s and perhaps gain more appreciation for how far humanity has come since then.

Table of Contents

Origins of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality
Image credit: Research gate

Imagine yourself in the year 1962, you open the newspaper and read the headline “Cinematographer Morton Heilig has just invented a device that can give you an illusion of reality”. What would your reaction be? What we just defined above is the “Sensoroma” which was the first ever virtual reality device ever made and credit goes to Cinematographer Morton Heilig for it’s invention. It is the earliest example we have of immersive, multi-sensory technology.

The sensoroma was really the pinnacle of technology at it’s time. The idea was to completely immerse people in film and lead way for future cinema. A large booth that could fit up to four people at a time. It stimulated all senses by including 

  • full colour 3D video
  • audio
  • vibrations
  • smell
  •  atmospheric effects

Commercialization of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality
Image credit: Virtual speech

Although the technology had been around for quite some time with prototypes like “Sensoroma” or Ivan Sutherland’s ” The Sword of Damocles” (Fancy name for a VR headset) but it wasn’t until the 90s or early 2000s that Virtual reality really started to be explored and commercialized with vr products that started to appear in the market like 

  1. DataGlove 
  2. EyePhone

The 80s and 90s did have virtual reality systems but these were limited to arcades. A popular system of vr in those days. The down side was that these were extremely expensive and required powerful computers to run. Technology wasn’t seamless like it is now.

Advancements in Virtual Reality

Virtual reality
Image credit: technews world

Curtains close on the 20th century, A new dawn, A new era. In come the early 2000s and 2010s. This is when virtual reality really started to kick off. An idea around for generations with inventions dating back to the 50s, This is when the idea of virtual reality took fruition and Companies like Sensics and Oculus began developing head-mounted displays with wider fields of view and better resolution. It was in 2012 when Oculus started a campaign for their most popular device “Oculus Rift” which raised over 2.4 million dollars and is loved by gamers worldwide.

This is also when gen z took birth, although previous generations saw some form of vr in their time but nothing comes close to the exposure gen z has had. It is a generation that grew up with VR, smartphones, Internet and everything else that comes to mind when you think of modern technology. Popular virtual reality products released in this time include

  • Oculus Rift
  • Google glass
  • Holo lens
  • Apple vision pro
  • Playstation VR

Conclusion

Virtual reality is a developing technology, even now and it will continue to develop in the future. It has had a major impact on how we view different forms of entertainment. The idea of being completely immersed in film which was developed in the 60s is fascinating even now in 2024. 

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