Virtual Reality


April 22, 2022

Virtual Reality

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create simulated environments. Virtual reality places the user inside a three-dimensional experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed in and interact with 3D worlds.

Simulation of human senses—all five of them—transforms a computer into a vehicle into new worlds. The only limitation to a superb VR experience is computing power and content availability.

Sam Trudgian, a VR developer at Napster, says, “VR and AR are in a state of innovation now. Headsets are getting smaller, faster and wireless.


 Types of Virtual Reality

  • Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality: This type of VR provides an experience partially based in a virtual environment. This type of VR makes sense for educational and training purposes with graphical computing and large projector systems, such as flight simulators for pilot trainees.
  • Fully Immersive Virtual Reality: Right now, there are no completely immersive VR technologies, but advances are so swift that they may be right around the corner. This type of VR generates the most realistic simulation experience, from sight to sound to sometimes even olfactory sensations. Car racing games are an example of immersive virtual reality that gives the user the sensation of speed and driving skills. Developed for gaming and other entertainment purposes, VR use in other sectors is increasing.

The virtual technology definition includes specific shared characteristics. Not only immersive, they are also computer-generated, believable as multidimensional experiences, and interactive.

Some Virtual Reality Applications 

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Automotive
  • Entertainment
  • Space and Military
  • Architecture
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Science & Psychology
  • Tourism

How Does Virtual Reality Technology Work?

The VR process combines hardware and software to create immersive experiences that “fool” the eye and brain. Hardware supports sensory stimulation and simulation such as sounds, touch, smell or heat intensity, while software creates the rendered virtual environment.

Eye and Brain Function and the 3D VR Experience

Immersive experience creation mimics how the eye and brain form visuals. Human eyes are about three inches apart and therefore form two slightly different views. The brain fuses those views to create a sense of depth or stereoscopic display.

VR applications replicate that phenomenon with a pair of exact images from two different perspectives. Instead of a single image covering the entire screen, it shows two identical pictures made to offset the view for each eye. VR technology fools the viewer’s brain into perceiving a sense of depth and accept the illusion of a multi-dimensional image.

What Technology Does Virtual Reality Use?

VR technology commonly consists of headsets and accessories such as controllers and motion trackers. Driven by proprietary downloadable apps or web-based VR, the technology is accessible via a web browser.

What Hardware Does Virtual Reality Use?

Virtual reality hardware includes sensory accessories such as controllers, as well as headsets, hand trackers, treadmills and, for creators, 3D cameras.

VR Headsets

A VR headset is a head-mounted device, such as goggles. A VR headset is a visual screen or display. Headsets often include state-of-the-art sound, eye or head motion-tracking sensors or cameras.

There are three main types of headsets:

  • PC-Based VR Headsets: PC headsets tend to be the highest-priced devices because they offer the most immersive experiences. These headsets are usually cable-tethered from the headset and powered by external hardware. The dedicated display, built-in motion sensors and an external camera tracker offer high-quality sound and image and head tracking for greater realism.
  • Standalone VR Headsets: All-in-one or standalone VR headsets are wireless, integrated pieces of hardware, such as tablets or phones. Wireless VR headsets are not always standalone. Some systems transmit information wirelessly from consoles or PCs in proximity, and others use wired packs carried in a pocket or clipped to clothing.
  • Mobile Headsets: These shell devices use lenses that cover a smartphone. The lenses separate the screen to create a stereoscopic image that transforms a smartphone into a VR device. Mobile headsets are relatively inexpensive. Wires are not needed because the phone does the processing. Phones don’t offer the best visual experiences and are underpowered by game console- or PC-based VR. They provide no positional tracking. The generated environment displays from a single point, and it is not possible to look around objects in a scene.

VR Accessories

VR accessories are hardware products that facilitate VR technology. New devices are always in development to improve the immersive experience. Today’s accessories include the 3D mouse, optical trackers, wired gloves, motion controllers, bodysuits, treadmills, and even smelling devices.

These are some of the accessories used today in VR:

  • 3D Mouse: A 3D mouse is a control and pointing device designed for movement in virtual 3D spaces. 3D mice employ several methods to control 3D movement and 2D pointing, including accelerometers, multi-axis sensors, IR sensors and lights.
  • Optical Trackers: Visual devices monitors the user’s position. The most common method for VR systems is to use one or multiple fixed video cameras to follow the tracked object or person.
  • Wired Gloves: This type of device, worn on the hands, is also known as cyber gloves or data gloves. Various sensor technologies capture physical movement data. Like an inertial or magnetic tracking device, a motion tracker attaches to capture the glove’s rotation and global position data. The glove software interprets movement. High-end versions provide haptic feedback or tactile stimulation, allowing a wired glove to be an output device.
  • Motion Controllers: These accessories allow users to act in mixed reality. Controllers allow for fine-grained interaction with digital objects because they have a precise position in space.
  • Omnidirectional Treadmills (ODTs): This accessory machine gives users the ability to move in any direction physically. ODTs allow users to move freely for a fully immersive experience in VR environments.
  • Smelling Devices: Smell devices are one of the newer accessories in the VR world. Vaqso, a Tokyo-based company, offers a headset attachment that emits odors to convey the size and shape of a candy bar. The fan-equipped device holds several different smells that can change intensity based on the screen action.

What Software Does Virtual Reality Use?

Developers use various software to build VR. They include VR software development kits, visualization software, content management, game engines, social platforms, and training simulators.

  • VR Content Management Systems Software: Companies use this workplace tool to collect, store and analyze VR content in a centralized location.
  • VR Game Engine Software: Developers use the tools to create a VR video game experience.
  • VR Software Development Kit (SDK): SDKs offer a base to design, build and test VR experiences.
  • VR Social Platforms Software: Users collaborate from remote locations in VR with these tools.
  • VR Training Simulator Software: This software works for almost any industry for employee training in immersive environments.
  • VR Visualization Software: Users experience aggregated data in a virtual environment. to fully understand what data means.

Non-Headset VR

Napster’s Trudgian points out another software technology that may someday disrupt headsets as a standard in VR: “Non-headset VR is coming, as demonstrated by the likes of Spatial, VRChat and RecRoom.
“These apps allow users or players without headsets to connect to the same environment and interact with one another. Adding support for non-headset users serves virtual worlds well by adding a user base on universally accessible devices and platforms. In theory, if a virtual world is not reliant on headset-only users, it can expand in size tremendously; the amount of people who have access to a web browser or smartphone is far greater than that of any headset.”


Virtual Reality Health & Safety Usage Guide

Before Using the Headset:

  • Read and follow all setup and operating instructions provided with the headset.
  • Review the hardware and software recommendations for use of the headset. Risk of discomfort may increase if recommended hardware and software are not used.
  • Your headset and software are not designed for use with any unauthorised device, accessory and/or software. Use of an unauthorised device, accessory and/or software may result in injury to you or others, may cause performance issues or damage to your system and related services.
  • To reduce the risk of discomfort, adjust the viewing focus for each user before use of the headset.
  • A comfortable virtual reality experience requires an unimpaired sense of motion and balance. Do not use the headset when you are: Tired; need sleep; under emotional stress or anxiety; or when suffering from cold, flu, headaches, migraines, or earaches, as this can increase your susceptibility to adverse symptoms.
  • We recommend seeing a doctor before using the headset if you are pregnant, elderly, have pre-existing binocular vision abnormalities or other serious medical conditions.
  • To charge the headsets, carefully ensure they are placed within their supplied case, with the USB cable connected to each headset. When the case is connected to the mains using the supplied power cable, the light on each headset should illuminate to show that it is charging. When the headsets are fully charged, we recommend switching the power supply off at the mains.

Advantages of Virtual Reality

VR benefits many industries with its user engagement. VR is an excellent vehicle for training, conferencing, convenience, and communication.

Here are some of the advantages of VR:

  • Practical Training: VR is a safe way to simulate dangerous situations for training purposes. Firefighters, pilots, astronauts and police can learn in a controlled environment before going into the field. Immersive experience narrows timeframes so trainees can more quickly become professionals.
  • Engagement and Connection: VR is an engaging and entertaining experience for its users.
  • Convenient Conferences: Virtual meetings save time and money, yet help maintain a sense of collegiality.
  • “Tryout” Capability: Shoppers’s remorse may become a thing of the past with VR. You can use virtual reality to furnish your home, test-drive a car or try on wedding bands without leaving home.

Disadvantages of Virtual Reality

VR has some disadvantages despite its appealing sense of engagement, including technical issues, the potential for addiction, loss of human connection, and expense. It’s possible to mitigate some problems, but others are a fixed part of the VR experience.

Here are some VR disadvantages:

  • Addiction: Some people become addicted to the VR experience in gaming and social media applications. People can assume different identifies, which can be addictive and cause social, psychological and biological issues.
  • Health Problems: Extensive use of VR can create a loss of spatial awareness, nausea, dizziness, disorientation and nausea, also known as simulator sickness.
  • Screen Door Effect: When you use a headset, the display is within inches of your eyes. That means you see pixels or the spaces between them, no matter how excellent the display resolution may be. This mesh-like effect can irritate some users. Newer headsets have improved but not eliminated the issue.
  • Loss of Human Connections: When you rely on virtual connections rather than real-life social interactions, trouble may result. Over-reliance on VR can lead to disassociation or depression.
  • Training Doesn’t Translate in the Real World: People trained in virtual reality may do well in the app or platform but can’t perform to the necessary standard in real-world situations.
  • Expense: While prices are coming down, VR systems are not affordable for everyone.

The Future of VR in Business

Businesses differentiate themselves through technological hybrids to interest consumers in innovations, mainly through VR and AR applications. Nowhere is this more evident than in shopping and retail.

Virtual reality in retail is still in its infancy. According to a 2018 VR in Retail and Marketing report from ABI Research, VR technology in the retail and marketing sectors are on track to generate $1.8 billion by 2022. Virtual reality in retail helps vendors plan, design, research and engage customers. The technology offers companies a strong competitive advantage by keeping up to date with current patterns and trends, like 3D eCommerce.

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