Virtual Reality is once of the latest innovations of gaming and technology in modern society using simple devices such as stereoscopic viewers to the latest in VR technology, the HTC Vive. VR technology has made more of a development in the last 10 years then it has in the last 100 years.
One of the earliest attempt of virtual reality started with 360 degree paintings, even though it was not made with computers or tablets. The first 360 painting was made in 1812 by Franz Rouband, ‘Battle of Borodino’. To view these painting people would have to go into a circular room where it would appear that they were immersed into the painting.
A couple of decades later Charles Wheatstone discovered that the brain registers the world as two different images, making things appear 3D rather than 2 dimensional. In 1823 Charles Wheatstone invented the Stereoscope which was a device that had two photos taken at slightly different angles so it would appear that they were in the photoed location. After the Stereoscope, the Lenticular Stereoscope invented in 1849 by David Brewster and then an even similar design by William Gruber in 1939 called the View Master. The View Master was a big jump in virtual tourism as it could flip between frames of film so people were able to experience a short animation or video in front of their eyes.
Edward Link created the first piece of controlled simulation just before WW2, where he created the Link Trainer, a large device that allowed training pilots to practice on the controls of a plane, saving a lot of time as pilots could head straight out for war instead of using planes to train on. This type of machinery is seen in today’s society with arcade machines such as Sega Rally 2 (1998) or the Star Wars Battle Pod (2014).
In 1962 the Sensorama was invented which gave people a fully immersive VR experience as it contained speakers, 3D display, fans, vibrating chair and smell generators. This invention was created by Morton Heilig wanted to give people to be completely immersive in film, especially the 6 short films he created just for this machine.
As well as creating the first fully immersive theatre, Morton Heilig also created the first VR head mounted display called the Telesphere Mask in 1960. Even though this was a huge jump in VR technology it was also a step back as the user had to be completely still and the film could only be watched rather than felt, smelt and touched.
In 1987 the term Virtual Reality was created by Jaron Lanier and his visual programming company VPL as they managed to create a series of virtual reality gear such as the EyePhone 1, EyePhone HRX and DataGlove. The term Virtual Reality was born as players were actually able to be with in a gaming environment that put them into a different reality, even though it was made from pixels and programmes. Due to this major leap in VR technology, virtual reality games were being introduced into arcades and museums.
With new innovations to video game, filming industries decided to take on the idea of Virtual Reality, starting with The Lawmmower Man in 1992, based off of Jaron Lanier’s early laboratory days and using his designs to give therapy to a mentally disabled patience. The even more iconic movie based off Virtual Reality is 1999‘s The Matrix, where it was lead to believe that the real world was a form of programmes in the matrix and the actual reality was 100+ years into the future where robots and programmes rule the world.
VR took a major development after 1990, starting with Sega VR headset used for the Sega Genesis console, then it was the Nintendo Virtual Boy in 1995 (first used of controllers in VR) and then the Oculus Rift in 2016, the first headset that the player was able to look around the environment. Other iconic VR headsets that were released during 2016 was the Google Cardboard where uses could place their mobile devices in, rather than connecting the headset to a computer, and one of the largest headset in the VR industry, the HTC Vive. The HTC Vive contained built in headphones, motion sensors (allowing the player to move in a small area) and controllers which give players the option of interact with objects with in the game, whether it be shooting guns or picking up mechanical equipment in a virtual garage.