“VIRTUAL REALITY? IT’S JUST A FAD!”
Many skeptics think that Virtual Reality is a new invention – a tech fad that will fizzle out along with Google Glass and that 2017 hoverboard that was prone to spontaneously combust… The truth is that head mounted Virtual Reality displays have been around since the first patented model, the “Telesphere Mask,” appeared 1960 (see the patent drawing in the header image!). This first model predated digital computing, and its patent application described the device as “a telescopic television apparatus for individual use…The spectator is given a complete sensation of reality, i.e. moving three dimensional images which may be in colour, with 100% peripheral vision, binaural sound, scents and air breezes.”
But by the end of the 1960’s, “Artificial Reality” programs began featuring computer-generated environments that had the ability to respond to the actions of the users in them. In 1987, Jaron Lanier founded the Visual Programming Lab (VPL), which became the first research lab solely dedicated to Virtual Reality. VPL was the first company to sell Virtual Reality goggles and gloves, changing the direction of the field with the introduction of “haptics” which stimulated the senses of touch and motion.
“Ambitious” is the theme
The hardware of Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy” delivered monochromatic visuals, uncomfortable ergonomics, and little else.
The failures of these two gaming titans to bring Virtual Reality to the mainstream tarnished the general opinion of Virtual Reality possibilities in the real world. Virtual Reality became a concept associated with fantasy storylines akin to The Matrix, and was not well received as a real-life solution to real-world problems.
Google “Cardboard” viewers offer cheap alternatives to pricy headsets.
As we previously discussed, an all-too-common assumption about the uses of Virtual Reality is that it is best used for gaming, and little else. Indeed, developers have already created enough Virtual Reality games to keep the most avid gamers busy for a lifetime, but the practical applications of Virtual Reality stretch far beyond just entertainment. In fact, thanks to the engineering of some of those same game developers, the ability of Virtual Reality to fully-immerse a user into a virtual environment now allows for practically endless possibilities in the business world. Need to see blueprints come to life in order to secure an investor? Mock it up in Virtual Reality. Need hands-on training for a physically dangerous task like tuning a jet engine or removing a gallbladder? Practice it in a consequence-free virtual setting. Want to sell an item that is too bulky or awkward to physically present to potential clients? Let them see it in context in a virtual environment. The possibilities are only limited by imagination.
What Lies ahead?
VisionThree, LLC (a.k.a. V3), is an interactive creative agency headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, USA. Focused on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Touch interactive, we serve and support clients globally with innovative and immersive experiences. V3 specializes in creating experiences that engage, educate, and entertain. Please learn more at VisionThree.com