Come on fire...fire...do it...you can win this...
If you find yourself uttering these words and struggling to win a game while banging the keys on your keyboard or joystick then welcome my friend, you have entered the world of Virtual Reality, where virtual world meets the real world. After years of development and inventions Virtual Reality has finally become a reality and is ready to change the way the world looks at things. Virtual Reality is something that allows everyone to experience the impossible.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer technology that replicates a real life environment and mimics the user's physical presence and environment that allows user interaction. Virtual Realities make use of computer hardware and software to artificially create sensory experience and presents it to the user in such a way that it appears and feels like a real environment. Most of the latest Virtual Realities are either displayed on a computer monitor or with the help of a Virtual Reality headset. Virtual environment can be created on different mediums depending on the computer based platform ranging from a phone screen to a desktop monitor or a fully Immersive Virtual Environment. Apart from games and entertainment, VR is also used for training airline pilots and surgeons and is also used by scientists to figure out complex problems.
To enter into a virtual environment a user needs special gloves, earphones and goggles, each of these send their output to the computer system. Keyboard, microphone, head tracking sensors, finger trackers, gesture recognition system, joystick etc. are also used as input devices. Virtual reality is a new and different way to see and experience virtual world, it makes the users feel in a virtual environment where they can interact with the objects, people and the environment. The high end devices used make the whole process more interesting and interactive that other media like television or video game. The user’s actions and motions immediately have a noticeable impact on the content of the virtual environment.
The use of graphics, sound and input technology in video games can be incorporated into VR. Several Virtual Reality head mounted displays (HMD) were released for gaming during the early-mid 1990s. These included the Virtual Boy developed by Nintendo, the iGlasses developed by Virtual I-O and a few others which track and send motion input of the users to the game console somewhat accurately. Several companies are working on a new generation of VR headsets: Oculus Rift is a head-mounted display for gaming purposes developed by Oculus VR. One of its rivals was named by Sony as PlayStation VR which requires a PS4 instead of a PC to run. In 2015, Valve Corporation announced their partnership with HTC to make a VR headset capable of tracking the exact position of its user in a 4.5 by 4.5 meters area, the HTC Vive and a few others like Microsoft HoloLens, Google Cardboard, Razer OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, and Samsung Gear VR. All these VR headsets are tethered headsets that use special curved lenses to magnify and stretch a 5.7-inch screen across the user’s field of vision.
In a few years from now, VR will be a computer-induced environment and the interaction with that environment would seem authentic. Computer graphics will be implanted in the real world in such a way that it would be difficult for the human mind to differentiate between the graphic images implanted in the real world and the real world. There has been a drastic increase in the number of Virtual Reality applications in the recent years and thus many Virtual Reality related gadgets and supplementary hardware devices have begun to flood in. Efforts are being taken to make this technology available at affordable prices. The dream is to merge the real world and the virtual world. Virtual Reality has come a long way in a short period of time. It has evolved from a mere fantasy into something very intricate for this generation of technology, it is about to unveil a major shift in how consumers interact with products, whether they are immersive 3D games, VR in healthcare sector, VR for educational purpose or movie-style experiences.
In the near future, VR has greater chances to succeed as a business rather than a mere fantasy, with so many developers striving in the race to make it more effective. It’s a matter of seeing what impact it has on consumer market, how affordable it can be and what kind of experiences it will be able to draw us in. But, one thing is certain that the future is definitely getting interesting.
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