Virtual Reality was just an impossible concept less than ten years ago, but now it is becoming a reality.
Virtual Reality, or VR for short, can be defined as computer generated experience imitating reality, within a confined environment. The use of virtual reality can be seen frequently within movies, with the TRON movies expressing a different form of virtual reality. The movie follows a computer programmer, who is sucked into his own software. Obviously, this is not the modern equivalent of virtual reality, but it does show that virtual reality has been relevant in the film industry, as early as the 1980s.
An example of VR being portrayed in the modern movie industry can be seen in the film ‘Ready Player One’. Set in 2045, this movie presents virtual reality as an escape for people, from the dystopian world that they now live in. The movie includes characters using VR as it is used today, through playing games within the software. Virtual Reality is not quite at the point where it can completely replace our reality, but we’re getting closer, day by day.
However, VR is not just all fun and games; it can also be used in a practical and educational way too. An example of this is the use of driving simulations, which can be accessed with an appropriate console, controller and VR headset. If all of these are used together in sync, then the user can essentially experience a driving lesson, within the comfort of their own home.
The earliest form of virtual reality to be mentioned is disputed, however in 1950, a man by the name of Morton Heilig produced a concept titled ‘Experience Theatre’. The idea of it is basically the same as cinema, but to allow one to use all of their senses, in order to create the most immersive experience for the viewer. Heilig produced a prototype headset, known as the ‘Sensorama’, in which the user could use more than just sight and sound, with the use of taste and smell being possible.
The system allowed complete peripheral vision, meaning that the user would be one hundred percent aware of what was going on around them. Considering that this was developed as early as 1952, we can only imagine and dream about what more could be done with the incredible technology available in the modern day.
Overall, virtual reality may seem like just a toy nowadays, however, in the future, it could be a major part of day to day life. VR could be used for medical, educational and technological research. We’re still way away from being a world indulged within a simulation, but we’re certainly on the way there…
Maybe by the time 2045 rolls around, we’ll look back at films like ‘Ready Player One’ and laugh at how technologically naïve we were with our predictions for the future. Sounds familiar, right?