What is Virtual Reality & how does it work?

We come across the term virtual reality in day to day conversations specifically by the gamers. We also heard about its immersive nature. But what actually VR means to you? we have explained here all the details of this technology.

Sony Playstation VR
Sony Playstation VR

VR stands for virtual reality. Basically, VR means experiencing computer generated interactive environment which doesn’t actually exist. This experience typically takes place in a simulated environment with the help of a head gear.

Furthermore, VR technology is typically a combination of physical and virtual environments. Physical environments such as props or various naturally occurring sounds create an imaginary environment simulating your physical presence in an artificial environment.

In addition, a person in a virtual environment can interact with virtual items, walk and look around the virtual environment. So, it creates an artificial immersive world around you, creating a feeling of being there in the virtual world.

What VR (Virtual Reality) means to you?

VR is typically a computer-generated environment that changes in real time as you interact with it. Hence, this virtual world is interactive and at the same time believable as well.

In VR world you can walk, run and look around so that you can explore this virtual world. Lastly, the virtual worlds are fully immersive as it engages your brain and body in an altogether different world. These worlds are immersive and engaging. After some time in the VR world, you will start feeling like you are the part of this world. And thus, you may forget the real world for hours.

How VR works?

Virtual Reality works on software and hardware. The software part includes the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML). This language allows creators to create virtual worlds without headsets.

Furthermore, the VRML was later on used to create X3D. It is an open source platform to distribute VR contents on the internet. WebVR is a new generation API that supports various VR devices like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift.

The Hardware part includes a headset that comprises of small HD screens, various sensors tracking movements of the body and a fast lightweight processor. For interaction with the virtual world, you often need a few more devices like motion controllers, wired gloves and optical tracking sensors.

VR game controllers
VR game controllers

Hence, VR works with the help of both software and hardware that interact with humans.

Types of Virtual Reality

The VR technology has various types mainly based on the interaction levels. The non-immersive VR is a technology that doesn’t fully immerse you. The typical example we can take is the flight simulator with a joystick and surround sound.

The immersive VR is a type of virtual reality where you get totally immersed in the alternate world. The example is the immersive world or an immersive war game.

Furthermore, the web-based VR technology uses VRML language to create virtual worlds on the world wide web. It is one of the most growing technologies in recent times. In addition, collaborative VR technology is also rising with games such as the Mind Craft. In this type of VR, you share the alternate world or its experience with other people like your friends and family.

The augmented reality is also a part of virtual reality. In augmented reality, we connect the real world with vast information in the virtual world. The recent example is your smartphone. The smartphone shows you the correct position of you and nearby landmarks via an application. Its nothing but augmented reality. The head-up display in cars and helmets are also great examples of AR technology.

Application of VR technology

The use of virtual reality in video games is very common since the 1990s. From 2010, the new wave of VR headset began with Oculus Rift and Sony Play Station VR.

The VR can simulate a virtual environment and this important aspect leads to an increase in use of this technology for training purposes. In today’s world, almost all pilots have simulator training which is nothing but VR technology.

Furthermore, the use of VR technology is getting wide-spread in Medical science. The surgeon from a remote part of the world can perform surgery on a patient in an altogether different continent. In this scenario, the surgeon has VR headset while the actual surgery takes place with the help of robot.

In addition, the use of virtual reality in scientific visualization and education is evolving. The use of VR in molecular level research is increasing day by day. The creation of a simulated environment has a big impact on education as students can understand the topic more clearly.

The use of VR in industrial design and architecture brings more dimensions in the field of design. Instead of building only 3D models, we can test the product in the virtual environment bringing real-world scenarios during the test. Thus, it boosts the real world reliability of the product.

VR technology and safety

The VR headset sits close to eyes and hence it may cause the eye fatigue or drying of eyes as we blink less. Some people may experience blackouts and seizures. The possibility of physical injuries also increase as we are not aware of our real world while in a virtual environment.

The Virtual reality sickness may occur by using VR and its just like motion sickness. The internal systems in the body do not recognize motion but it receives motion input via eyes in the virtual world causing VR sickness.

The health challenges in VR technology are still more than what we thaught. The prolong use seems dangerous as it may lead to disconnection from the real world. So, adoption of this technology is at very slow rate mostly due to medical challenges and safety concerns.

In conclusion, virtual reality will open new avenues in almost every field. Before everything, we must first address the medical and safety challenges in VR technology.

Watch virtual reality in action:

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