Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Devices Tutorials

Virtual Reality Devices Tutorials page will provide you a list of updates and news on virtual reality.

Haptic suit

The head gear the Dive from:

AUGUST 21, 2014
Google Ventures Invests in Cinematic Virtual-Reality Startup Jaunt


History of Virtual Reality and Immersive Devices

Virtual reality is the top the top news in the technical community for years. Little did we know that the concept that was derived in 1950s would be a reality in our lives. The time when computer systems required constant air cooling and big rooms, some intelligent people were already talking about the future. The focus of virtual today is gaming but in the early 50s people were designing VR headsets for therapy and military training. History of Virtual Reality and Immersive Devices.

In 1956, Morton Heilig designed the first Virtual/Immersive reality machine. The machine was named Sensorama and its purpose was to trigger each human sense while watching a 3D film. Sensorama was not anything like VR headsets we have today, it was designed like an arcade machine. It combined projected film, audio, vibration, winds and odors depending on the film you are watching.

Initially, there were only five films available for different experiences which included motorcycle ride through New York, a bicycle ride, a ride on a dune buggy, a helicopter ride over Century city in 1960 and a dance by a belly dance. The technology was quite ahead of its time, a time where there were no computer graphics available so the films were pre-recorded and played back to the user.

Computer systems at the time were only used for calculations but Morton Heilig looked beyond this concept and integrated entertainment with technology for the first time. Similar to Oculus Rift, Heilig also applied for a patent for the first ever head-mounted display (HMD). Microsoft Hololens, Oculus Rift, Samsung’s VR and Sony’s VR all are HMDs which were first thought of in the 60s.

Morton had many interesting ideas such as full immersive cinema experience eliminating the need for additional glasses to experience 3D. His proposed HMD also included an odor generator and stereo sound. Unfortunately, his idea never came in to existence but someone else did make a head-mounted display in 1960s.

Employees of Philco Corporation Comeau and Bryan developed the first HMD with a head-tracking technology, Headsight. It featured a single CRT element and magnetic tracking system to track head movements. This technology was used for military training programs. The problem was still computer graphics and image generation in that era.

The major progress in virtual and immersive reality were made in mid 60s and early 70s by Ivan Sutherland. He developed what he called the Ultimate Display, which can be used to look in to a virtual world. The image would appear as real as physical world we live in. This is was the first major breakthrough in the field of VR. Ivan’s vision and Ultimate Display technology included three things:

  • A virtual world that appears real to any observer, seen through an HMD and augmented through three-dimensional sound and tactile stimuli
  • A computer that maintains the world model in real time
  • The ability for users to manipulate virtual objects in a realistic, intuitive way

Even though he managed to integrate HMD with a computer instead of a camera, the HMD was still quite big and heavy for a user to comfortably wear.

Many advancements were made during 1970s and 1980s especially from students from Utah and MIT. They developed an area search method and a scan-line algorithm & hardware system. VR started receiving research funds from the government for various projects. NASA got involved as well as other military institutions. Virtual Reality became a big phenomenon in 1980s when it was appeared in the Hollywood films “Tron” and “Star Trek” which made a huge buzz in the entertainment industry and became instant hits.

History of Virtual Reality and Immersive Devices

In 1990s, gaming industry started paying attention to virtual reality as well. Sega introduced its first Virtual Reality glasses at CES in 1993. Although many of the early concepts in the 90s didn’t make it to the consumers but they showed a glimpse in to the future.

The only problem remained was backwardness of the computer technology compared to the requirements of VR. Virtuality Group added VR to arcade games which let users enter a three-dimensional space using goggles. Many popular game such as Pac-Man were part of this program as well.

More Hollywood movies started implementing virtual reality concepts in to their stories. Matrix in 1999 was one of the biggest blockbusters. The movie showed how people can enter a three-dimensional world through a computer program. This is was the last time virtual reality was hyped and all the concepts went to sleep in the 21st century till Oculus came up.

Oculus Rift was one of the biggest crowd funded business and Kickstarter was enough to get worldwide attention. Oculus Rift was the first ever virtual reality concept that can be sold commercially to gamers and users. Although the technology faced many delays for three years but it is finally ready for deployment.

Oculus has backing from major game and software developers. Other tech companies have also followed Oculus to the world of virtual reality. Samsung, HTC, Sony and Google all came up with their own VR headsets. But Microsoft took it one step forward with augmented reality. Microsoft Hololens is first ever augmented reality headset which can produce projected images on any surface and users can interact with them.

The vision of 1960s is finally being completed 55 years later by young minds. The computer technology has progressed this far that it can support virtual reality concepts which was not possible when the idea was generated.

History of Virtual Reality and Immersive Devices