The World of Virtual Reality

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about virtual reality? Most people think that virtual reality is video games or even computer games that you are able to communicate with other people from all over the world. The world of virtual reality is all around us. From watching television to working on homework assignments on your computer, almost everything that we do uses some kind of virtual reality. There are many aspects that are being used by many different kinds of professionals like dentists, astronauts and even our law enforcement agencies. What is virtual reality? It is the use of computers to create a simulated environment that has an illusion of reality and immerses you in the experience (Bowles, 2010). Virtual Reality is the excess of reality that puts an end to reality, just like the excess to communication puts an end to communication. (Baudrillard, 2000, p. 66) Some people describe virtual reality as a simulation. Although they are almost the same thing,, a simulation at its simplest level, is copying some aspect of real life and portraying that experience on a computer. (Bowles, 2010) Guy Debord’s theory was simple in his mind. He thought that by shifting to a virtual reality, we go beyond alienation, into a state of radical deprivation of the other, or indeed of any otherness, alterity, or negativity. (Baudrillard, 2000, p. 66) Virtual reality is thought to be a fantasy world where everything exists only because you have they idea that it is there. So in other words it is a dream world where everything that the person using it can imagine. The first virtual reality world was invented by Morton Heilig in 1956, which was a combined projected film, vibrations, odors, winds and audio to make the user feel like they were actually in the film and not just watching it. (Carlson, 2003) His invention was a motorcycle simulator called the Sensorama, which resembled one of today’s arcade machines. It was not a very big success due to the fact that not very many people thought that it actually worked and did not like it. Heilig continued working on improving his invention throughout the rest of the 1950’s. In 1960 his work really started pay off with his new invention of the simulation mask, or Head-Mounted Display (HMD), which was not a huge success. Heilig also had an idea for an immersive theater that he called the “full experience”. (Carlson, 2003) This new idea would give multiple viewers a three-dimensional image without having to require the use of the special glasses in order to receive the full experience. (Carlson, 2003) Unfortunately this idea was never invented and is still something that other people are still trying to invent today. The three-dimensional interactive graphics and vehicle simulation that was used in the 1960s and 1970s can be traced to the early work at MIT and Utah from the works of Ivan Sutherland. Sutherland used Heilig’s Head-Mounted Display to inspire his invention of The Ultimate Display in 1965. What made this invention so important was the fact that it had a stereoscopic display or one CRT element for each eye. Two of the foundations of Virtual Reality were being addressed at MIT by Larry Roberts and Sutherland, among many others. Even though there were many breakthroughs in the world of virtual reality, one of the most important was Henri Gouraud’s development of a simple scheme for continuous shading in 1971 (Carlson, 2003). This scheme that he developed involved interpolation between the points on a surface to describe continuous shading across a single polygon. By doing this Gouraud achieved a closer approximation of reality, which is essential in the process of generating the quality of visual images necessary to present a believable virtual reality environment (Carlson, 2003). One of the most influential inventions in the world of virtual reality was the flight simulator, which was used as a cheaper and safer way to train the pilots on the ground....
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