What is Virtual Reality?
The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both 'virtual' and 'reality'. The definition of 'virtual' is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term 'virtual reality' basically means 'near-reality'. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation.
We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school we all learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds.
Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality.
Use Cases for Virtual Reality
Crime Scene Reconstructions
Experts from the University of Zurich state that VR technology could be used to explore 3D reconstructions used in criminal trials as an "illustrative aid." In recent years, crime scene investigators have begun deploying sophisticated technology that captures 3D information about a crime scene. Experts claim that all of this information could be used to create a 3D simulation of a crime scene which would make decisions easier than when the information is presented on paper.
Pain Relief
Research and clinical data have shown that immersive virtual reality can significantly reduce pain, relieve stress, and build resilience. Experts state that VR is a much safer means of pain relief as traditional methods, which involve narcotics that over time diminish in effectiveness and are extremely addictive.
Immersion Journalism
Uses VR to transport users to virtual worlds that offer them new insights into real life social issues. This new form of VR powered "immersion journalism" is used to immerse audiences in stories, be it about human rights abuses, the war in Syria or homelessness in modern day America. The representations allow users to experience rathen than just reading about them in the newspaper.
Virtual Workspaces
VR can also be used to crease a virtual office desk and workspace for users. VR headset powered interactive workspaces where people can plug in and turn off the background noise and activity going on around them. Bloomberg LP has built a prototype of its stock exchange data terminal which can be connected to the Oculus Rift Headset.
VR is used to allow manufacturers give staff a real feel for the new construction, be is a submarine or an apartment block. Companies such as BAE, Leyland Trucks and Rolls Royce have used VR systems to improve product build quality and reduce errors and levels of rework. "People can literally drop in and walk through the exact area they are building." --Dean Brown, BAE SYSTEMS.
Students can enter immersive education classes about anything from physical education to business studies using VR technology. Wandering through a roman coliseum, or exploring the solar system as a passenger on a spaceship. VR can make even the dullest topics come alive.
BIG Data
VR can be used to healp visualize and manupulate BIG data. Researchers can point, grab, move and click on even the smallest piece of geometry in the virtual environment, offering finer control of data interactions.
Augmented Reality Sample
MAR 03
Although we talk about a few historical early forms of virtual reality elsewhere on the site, today virtual reality is usually implemented using computer technology. There are a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. These are used to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of reality.
MAR 03
There are many different types of virtual reality systems but they all share the same characteristics such as the ability to allow the person to view three-dimensional images. These images appear life-sized to the person.
MAR 03
Virtual worlds are three dimensional environments in which you can interact with others and create objects as part of that interaction. How do you do that? You appear as an avatar in the virtual world: an avatar is a virtual representation of you (a 'virtual ego') which can take on any shape or form as you so wish.
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