Virtual Reality Essay

2062 words - 8 pages

Virtual Reality

Today’s science fiction is often tomorrow’s reality. As the pace of change has quickened, so it appears that we are actually living within a science fiction movie. Programs on TV continue to amaze or frighten us with yet more technological break through and with clever new products and gadgets. Over the last decade and certainly through the rest of this century, the major agent for these changes has been and will continue to be electronic computer and its derivatives. The Digital Age exploded into existence not with a whimper but a bang. The globe still shakes from its entry. The journey was long, but the impact is immediate. Now, for instance, the breath of an unborn baby can be captured and rendered visible, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been bathed in enhanced color, and Mona Lisa’s smile is safely preserved in GIF file. Throughout the world, many homes are lit by dim reflection of computer monitors. Illuminated manuscripts and images coax people to recompose reality simply by clicking in. Mutation is taking place before our charged and filtered eyes. It is a dynamic re-vision that has altered every aspect of life, as we knew it. This phenomenon is not a fad or a trend, but an evolution. As frightening the new Virtual Technology may seem, it can benefit us in many different ways. Hence it is ethical to pursue developing this new field.

Virtual Reality

History

Virtual Reality (VR) as a concept had its beginnings in the 1960s and it is mostly credited to the work of scientists like Ivan Sutherland and D.L. Vickers [1]. It is a simulation of a real or imaginary phenomenon in a three- dimensional environment. This simulated environment, believed to be real through feeling, is made of virtual objects created by animated and highly interactive computer graphics programs utilizing a graphic display, a transducer, and an image generator [2].

What is VR

VR is more than an upgraded version of Cinerama or a theme park ride, as it achieves not only a greater sense of presence, but through the use of computer technology, the capacity to direct one’s gaze and movements so that one can explore and move around inside the illusory flow of images [3]. The main imperfection in simulation at present comes from the difficulties inherent in presenting a sufficiently convincing computer generated image. Presenting a convincing visual input to a human being requires a computer which can handle a vast amount of information. This is both difficult and expensive with existing technology.

VR systems support 3-dimensional graphics, wide angle of view, stereovision, and viewer-centered perspective. In many VR systems the participant is not seated and is free to walk about and gesture broadly. These features make a computer system which is closer to a workshop, an operating room, or a national park than it is to a desk in an office. This perspective allows freedom in the creation of human-computer interfaces that is not afforded by...

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