Virtual Reality: Computer Generated Simulation Essay

1154 words - 5 pages

“Virtual reality promises a kind of transcendence of the limits of physical reality” (Biocca, Kim, Levy 06). “Virtual Reality” is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment in a seemingly real way by a person using special electronic equipment. When most people hear this they think of movies like “The Matrix”. They think films are the only place virtual reality is seen and used. However they are sorely mistaken in that aspect. Virtual reality is used in other fields and can be used in real life. Some of the fields that virtual reality can is used in are military, healthcare, and on the consumer level.
To begin with let’s get a feel of the history behind the subject known as “Virtual Reality”. Virtual reality has existed in many forms since the late 1960s. The concept of virtual reality started with Ivan Sutherland and his ultimate display in 1965. The ultimate display was a paper Sutherland wrote before the development of the personal desktop regarding the combination of computers to the design, construction, navigation and habitation of virtual worlds. "The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter...With appropriate programming such a display could literally be the Wonderland into which Alice walked."(Sutherland 1970). After Sutherland, about 12 yrs. later, a trio of researchers, Dan Sandin, Richard Sayre and Thomas Defanti, took the next step and invented the data glove. This step was important because it paved the way to interaction through body movement. “I consider technology an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and therefore as natural as the birds and the bees.” (Krueger 2002). In 1983 Myron Krueger invented many forms of virtual reality and the most influential was the Videoplace (aka videospace). The video place followed and digitized the user’s image and uses that to interact with the program. These projects were just start ups compared to today.
The first place where virtual reality found practical application was in military training and operations. Simulators were the first to be incorporated in 1920’s-1930’s for flight trainers. They were effective tools for their intended purpose and trained many pilots needed before and during WWII (Baumann 2008). In the 1950s simulators were designed with an outside view using TVs’ and video cameras. Now the pilot could get feedback from both inside and outside the cockpit. After that the simulators were placed in a domed room and the images would be projected onto the inner surface of the dome, so the pilot could have a field of vision of at least 180 degrees horizontally and vertically. The last development was the use of head-mounted displays to decease the cost of wide field of vision simulations. The next was the use of telepresence for military operations. Two reasons the military employed telepresence in their missions were to reduce exposure to dangers and to increase stealth. Most...

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