What is virtual reality (VR)


Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment that simulates a real or imaginary world. Users can interact with this environment and objects in it through the use of special devices, such as head-mounted displays (HMDs). VR can be used to create a variety of experiences, from gaming and entertainment to training and education.

History of VR

The concept of VR has been around for decades, but it wasn't until the 1990s that the technology began to develop to the point where it was practical to use. In 1992, the first commercial VR headset, the EyePhone, was released. However, it was expensive and bulky, and it didn't achieve widespread adoption.

In the early 2000s, VR technology began to improve significantly. HMDs became smaller, lighter, and more affordable. Games and applications that took advantage of VR also began to appear. However, VR still hadn't reached the mainstream.

The release of the Oculus Rift in 2016 marked a turning point for VR. The Rift was a much more immersive and realistic experience than previous VR headsets. It also had a number of high-profile games and applications, which helped to popularize the technology.

In recent years, VR has continued to grow in popularity. More and more people are using VR headsets for gaming, entertainment, training, and education. The technology is still evolving, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.

Key Terms Related to VR

  • Head-mounted display (HMD): A device that is worn on the head and displays a virtual environment.
  • Tracking: The process of determining the position and orientation of a user's head and body in a virtual environment.
  • Haptics: The use of technology to simulate the sense of touch.
  • Field of view (FOV): The extent of the virtual environment that is visible to the user.
  • Latency: The time it takes for a user's actions to be reflected in the virtual environment.
  • Immersion: The feeling of being surrounded by and interacting with a virtual environment.
  • Interactivity: The ability of the user to interact with the virtual environment.

Key Components of VR

The key components of VR are the HMD, tracking, haptics, FOV, latency, immersion, and interactivity. These components work together to create a realistic and immersive virtual environment that the user can interact with.

Applications of VR

VR is being used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Gaming: VR is a popular platform for gaming. There are a number of VR games available, from first-person shooters to role-playing games.
  • Education: VR is being used in education to provide students with a more immersive and interactive learning experience. There are VR applications for teaching everything from history to anatomy.
  • Training: VR is being used to train people for a variety of jobs, including pilots, surgeons, and firefighters. VR simulations can provide a safe and realistic way to learn new skills.
  • Design: VR is being used by designers to create new products and environments. VR can help designers to visualize their ideas and to get feedback from users.
  • Healthcare: VR is being used to treat a variety of conditions, including phobias, pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. VR can also be used to provide rehabilitation therapy.
  • Telepresence: VR can be used to create a sense of presence in a remote location. This can be used for business meetings, education, and healthcare.
  • Entertainment: VR is being used to create new forms of entertainment, such as concerts, movies, and theme parks. VR can also be used to create social experiences that allow people to connect with each other in a new way.

Future of VR

The future of VR is very promising. The technology is still evolving, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.

In the future, VR is likely to become more mainstream. More people will use VR headsets for gaming, entertainment, training, and education. The technology will also be used in new and innovative ways, such as for social networking, remote collaboration, and even travel.

VR is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to change the world. It is an exciting technology with the potential to make a real difference in our lives.

What Technology Does Virtual Reality Use?

VR technology often comprises headgear and peripherals such as controllers and motion trackers. The technology is available through a web browser and is powered by proprietary downloaded apps or web-based VR. Sensory peripherals like controllers, headphones, hand trackers, treadmills, and 3D cameras are all part of virtual reality hardware.

There are two main types of VR devices:

  • Standalone - devices with all the components required to offer virtual reality experiences in the headset. Oculus Mobile SDK, produced by Oculus VR for its standalone headsets, and the Samsung Gear VR are two popular standalone VR platforms. (The SDK has been deprecated in favour of OpenXR, which will be available in July 2021.)
  • Tethered - headsets that connect to another device, such as a PC or video game console, to deliver a virtual reality experience. SteamVR, part of Valve's Steam service, is a popular tethered VR platform. To support headsets from different vendors, such as HTC, Windows Mixed Reality headset manufacturers, and Valve, the SteamVR platform employs the OpenVR SDK.


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