The technology of virtual reality involves immersing the user in a completely synthetic computer generated world, where your senses are forgoing the real world, immersing the user in an alternative environment.
To enjoy a virtual reality experience you need special glasses. These glasses can be connected to a computer, be totally portable or require a mobile phone to be inserted inside the glasses.
The most powerful glasses to enjoy virtual reality experiences are those that are connected to a high-performance computer, since they allow much more realism and graphic quality in the virtual environments that are proposed to the user.
History of Virtual Reality
The history of virtual reality began at the beginning of the 20th century, back in 1935. In that year, we found the first specific reference to virtual reality glasses , whose author was the science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum in his story titled “The Pygmalion Glasses.”
The story revolves around the invention of a teacher, who allows those who use it to be transported to other worlds and places through glasses.
The first virtual reality glasses were created in 1960 by Morton Heiling , and for this reason he is known as the father of virtual reality .
This cinematographer and inventor had developed the Sensorama in 1957, a rather cumbersome machine that allowed the user to enjoy multisensory experiences . His new invention, designed to be used as a portable computer on the user’s head, was called a stereoscopic television set for individual use, this was the beginning of the history of virtual reality.
Although this virtual reality helmet may seem very rudimentary today, the concept was already very similar to current equipment, and for this reason it is considered that they were the first virtual reality glasses in history.
How does virtual reality work?
It is interesting to understand how virtual reality glasses work, since there are several technologies that are integrated into one of these devices. The display system consists of two screens in which the user can see a different video sequence in each eye.
When content adapted to glasses is shown, and through stereoscopic vision, the user perceives it as a three-dimensional, dynamic and interactive space.
In addition, the glasses include inertial and positioning sensors to be able to react to the movements made by the user, and thus be able to offer a fully interactive experience.
In this way, when we walk, we move our heads or hands in the real world, we also do it in the virtual world.
The software used in virtual reality experiences is basically a video game engine, which must be capable of rendering hyper-realistic, high-resolution images. Rendering is the process that transforms the information of a three-dimensional scene, geometry, textures and lighting, into 2D frames. In the case of virtual reality, two frames must be calculated at a time, one for each eye, and they must have a minimum resolution of 4K for each eye when using the most advanced equipment.
That is why it is necessary to have high-performance graphics cards in virtual reality applications, since an experience that is comfortable for the user must work at least at a rate of 90 frames per second.
Types of virtual reality
We can currently find different types of virtual reality that can mainly be differentiated depending on the device that is used.
L os devices more advanced utilizanhigh – performance computers and high – quality glasses andare mainly applied in professional environmentssuch asfor exampletheindustryor medicine.
The most popular devices of this type are HTC VIVE orOculusRift, which were the pioneers of the industry and which allow the most immersive virtual reality.
There are other types of glasses with more affordable pricesandthat do not need to be connected to a computer .
E heseglasses are called stand alone andhavea very acceptable performance at a very low economic cost, while allowing someexperience svery realistic s.
L more popular as within this category,would be glassesor cULus Questand mainly being applied in the world of entertainment,to play video games andinsocial multiuser applications.
More affordable devices
Another type of glasses would be those that need to use your own mobile phone to work.
B ásicamente what is done isto insert the phone ina structureof plastic or cardboard, containing the lensesoptical glasses.
The mobile screen that is divided into twoanduses its accelerometers,inertial sensorsandthe phone’s computer system.
This type of virtual reality is very suitable for simple content or watch videos360,since the computational capacity of a phone cannot be compared to that of an orderly r .
Differences between virtual reality and augmented reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality are often confused because they are two similar technologies. The main difference between them consists in the degree of virtual immersion that is proposed in each of them to the user.
Virtual reality creates a completely digital environment, an immersive 360-degree experience that feels totally real. In a virtual reality environment, users can interact with what they see as if they were really there and are no longer aware of their real environment.
In the case of augmented reality, the virtual elements intermingle with our view of the real world, composing a mixture between the two.
Initially called artificial reality or cyberspace, virtual reality is that which is generated by computers or computer systems , which project a scenario in which the user has the sensation of being , being able to interact in that new world and the objects that are there. find to a lesser or greater degree, according to the equipment that you have at your fingertips.
The ideal virtual reality would be one that allows interaction in the virtual world with all the senses. However, due to the high costs, most of the systems have focused on sight and hearing, some with advances in touch, lacking to incorporate smell and taste.
For the creation of this sense of reality, different devices are necessary . In the first place, there is the visualizer, glasses or virtual reality helmet, which is in charge of displaying the images and instead of filming with a single camera, it uses two, located at a certain distance from each other. The images from the left and right camera are sent to the left and right viewers, respectively. In this way, the individual experiences a strong sense of depth that gives the images realism.
Also, there are the gloves, which transmit the movements to the virtual hands. Thus, if the individual shakes his hands, the hands he sees in pictures will also shake. In addition, they return the sensation of pressure, giving the impression that something real is being touched.
On the other hand, there are the suits that record all the movements of the body and what is observed in a virtual way will respond to all the actions that are done in real life, such as walking, turning, jumping and running. And for the audio, headphones are used.
There are two types of virtual realities: immersive and semi-immersive, the first allows detaching from the real world and living another world through the use of different devices and the second allows virtual and auditory interaction with a virtual world, but without being immersed in it. The latter is seen in 3D video games and movies.
Virtual reality has been incorporated into different disciplines to facilitate study, work and even negotiations. For example, an architect can show the model of his building, without even starting to excavate, taking the projection of the success of his project and being able to make pre-sales.
It is also used for the training of apprentices (such as pilots, soldiers, astronauts, surgeons, among others), creation of virtual environments (such as shops, museums, classrooms, among others) and CAD (computer-aided designs).