Have you ever wanted to get the feeling of walking with dinosaurs?
Or fighting in a ring without entering it? (minus the injuries goes without saying)
Or maybe driving a car at a speed (definitely) not permissible on the roads?
The good news is you can. Sitting in the comfort of wherever you want. All thanks to Virtual Reality.
The term virtual reality is made up of two words, ‘virtual’ which means nearly whereas ‘reality’ means the state of things as they actually exist. Hence virtual reality is nothing but the near-reality experience that we feel. It doesn’t exist in reality but almost provides the experience of it.
In the computer language, the Virtual reality is a term which is used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that can be explored and interacted with by a human being. Hence this human being becomes a part of this virtual world and can perform any series of actions within this virtual world.
The idea of immersing oneself in an alternate reality dates way back to the 19th century when stereoscopes captivated people’s imagination. The Air Force and NASA began to research this technology actively in the late 1960s. And since then it has come a long way from then through a journey of evolution, so much so, that now there are various branches of virtual reality.
For a fully immersive Virtual Reality experience, there is a requirement for a detailed virtual world computer model which can adjust and alter responses according to our choices similar to real-time along with hardware linked to the computer which can provoke our sensory needs.
Playing on a highly realistic flight simulator on a large screen with powerful headphones qualifies as a non-immersive experience of Virtual reality. It doesn’t fully immerse you yet serves the purpose of giving you a richer experience.
Collaboration and sharing are becoming essential features of VR. With games like Battlefield providing Virtual Reality mode, a player can feel the real-time excitement of being in the war along with strategizing and planning with other players in the game.
For web-based virtual reality experiences, all you need is a headset and a compatible browser. With Facebook showing interest in this field of Virtual Reality, there is a surge of development now.
Augmented reality is basically connecting our real-world experience with the vast virtual world of information. The mobile phone has ensured that this technology is in our hands quite literally. Whether we point at a building and graphics, begin to appear, or we play Pokemon Go tracking our path in whichever corner of the world we are, augmented reality enhances our world.
Virtual reality requires specific tools for a mesmeric experience. Head Mounted Display’s or HMD as they’re commonly called have been a breakthrough invention in Virtual Reality because they allow you to move your head without any limitation giving the feel of a real world unlike looking at a 3D screen. There are immersive rooms as well which project images around you as you move in them like flight simulators. Data gloves and wands allow people the natural reaction of stretching their hands out for any action. This makes the experience even more realistic.
There are many applications of virtual reality which have been established or are still being explored through innovation.
Flight cockpit simulators were some of the earliest Virtual Reality applications, and they are still very valuable. Even doctors, surgeons, parachute professionals etc. use virtual reality for useful learnings.
Virtual Reality aids in surgical training and drug designing. It also helps with simulation in patients who need pain relief, exercises for patients with differential abilities, dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder etc
Virtually one can design new materials or drugs which add up as easy experiments with the help of data that is provided to the machine eliminating 2D models which were difficult to visualize.
Industrial Design and Architecture
Earlier the same models that were made out of card and paper are now built with the help of VR in 3D. This shows that computer modeling is essential in understanding these mathematical models which can be tested for various qualities.
Games and Entertainment
Virtual Reality has been an integral part of the gaming industry with developers trying to provide gamers with the best possible real-time experience.
Virtual Reality is becoming cheaper and widespread with each passing day. Its uses are also increasing as newly evolving technologies are combined with it for better outcomes. We can expect a lot of innovative applications with development in the near future.