Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, it may seem unrealistic and what first comes to mind is that this type of technology is only used on futuristic sci-fi films like Star Trek and Star Wars.  To ordinary people, it is bizarre.  So I wondered and even asked few acquaintances of their knowledge of virtual reality; some know the word but weren’t even sure or cannot explain how it works, some showed curiosity and asked me back on how it really works and others heard of it but never bothered to know about it. Let’s start with it’s definition. In reference with the Merriam-Webster dictionary, virtual reality is an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.  I first took interest in virtual reality when I was watching the anime Sword Art Online. It featured an epic piece of technology known as the Nerve Gear. The Nerve Gear is used as a device that can simulate vast worlds and environments using virtual reality. It can also read the the signals or brainwaves made by the user’s mind. Knowing the possibility that this might happen in the future, I took my time and dug deep inside the core to find out the truth behind this technology.

nerve-gear NerveGear

The main character wearing the nerve gear

This is what I found out:

As different as it seems, virtual reality can trace its roots in 1860s, when 360-degree art through panoramic murals began to appear. After some time, in 1920s, vehicle simulators were introduced which helped prevent countless automobile accidents. On 1966, the visual flight stimulator was introduced. On 1968, Ivan Sutherland, along with his student, created what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality; But it was too primitive both in terms of user interface and realism, and the HMD that is worn by the user was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling. On 1991, Antonio Medina, a MIT graduate and NASA scientist designed a virtual reality system to “drive” Mars rovers from Earth in apparent real time. (Source: Wikipedia)

the-sword-of-damocles1 ivan sutherland

Ivan Sutherland’s Sword of Damocles

To make a futuristic version of virtual reality work, the concept remains the same — using computer technology to create a simulated, three dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were a part of it. It may seem simple but it is really complex. Countless scientists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what people think a true VR experience is since many of us have different perspectives; but in general it should include:

-The ability to track a user’s motions and adjust the digital data to its respective form.

-Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user.

Even if it seems to be mostly advantageous, it still possesses a great threat. Like in the anime, if the inventors make it possible to read the brain waves of the user, they will also have the option to make it possible so that it can make changes in the brain waves of the user; thus, it would be possible to alter the memories and even change the emotions of the user. If this kind of technology advances, many people would also lack socio-interactive skills since they could do pretty much anything in their own virtual world.

virtual-reality Sexy brunette in future glasses and headset close-up

Devices that we should be expecting

Conclusion:

Virtual reality is a form of technology that should not be underestimated. Without it, our perspectives in life would not be the same. It is a form of technology with limitless potential, but we should always be careful, since not all people will use this for good — some people might take advantage of this gift and use it for their own advantages. True VR experiences would soon be achieved and it would change the way we live; we would be able to live in our own ideal worlds, choose the way we want to live, and have the freedom to do anything we want. Virtual Reality has evolved throughout history and it advances with us as we step further into the future, a future filled with magnificent inventions and jaw breaking innovations.

Flores, Zeke

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2 thoughts on “Virtual Reality

  1. I was drawn to your comments about SAO and waiting for the day when technology can mimic the Nerv Gear without the whole being trapped in the VR world. Anyhow, have you checked out the Oculus yet? Not sure how promising it’ll be but def looks like a new step worth exploring.

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