Virtual reality creates a realistic three-dimensional image or artificial environment through a mixture of interactive hardware and software, and presents it to the user in such a seeminly real way that any doubts are suspended.
Virtual reality aims to achieve immersion which is the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world.
Virtual reality requires as many of our senses as possible to be simulated. These senses include vision (visual), hearing (aural), touch (haptic), and more. Properly stimulating these sense requires sensory feedback, which is achieved through integrated hardware and software (also known as inputs).
The element of interaction is crucial for virtual reality experiences to provide users with enough comfort to naturally engage with the virtual environment. If the virtual environment responds to a user’s action in a natural manner, excitement and senses of immersion will remain. If the virtual environment cannot respond quick enough, the human brain will quickly notice and the sense of immersion will diminish.
How does the technology
How VR works
Each VR headset puts up a screen (or two - one for each eye) in front of eyes thus, eliminating any interaction with the real world.
Two autofocus lenses are generally placed between the screen and the eyes that adjust based on individual eye movement and positioning.
The visuals on the screen are rendered either by using a mobile phone or HDMI cable connected to a PC.
To create a truly immersive virtual reality there are certain prerequisites - a frame rate of minimum 60fps, an equally competent refresh rate and minimum 100-degree field of view (180 degrees is ideal). The frame rate is the rate at which the GPU can process the images per second, screen refresh rate is the pace of the display to render images, and FOV is the extent to which the display can support eye and head movement.
VR immerses employees in a lifelike environment of long queues and crowds and prepares them for events which are not an everyday occurrence.
For example, Oculus VirtualSpeech helps users practice their public speaking skills in a simulated environment. VR also enables healthcare professionals to practice in a risk free environment that would be impossible in the real world.
Training of employees
VR enables retailers to test and refine their displays, signage and store layout to maximise consumer experience and spending. For example, VR heat mapping technology provides a detailed pattern of which areas or products attract their attention.
VR also enables shoppers to explore products in a life like way. In 2016 Ikea launched its Virtual Reality Kitchen Experience in Australia to help customers discover kitchen features and imagine how they would feel in their own home.
Consumer Experience in Retail Stores
VR platforms enable architects to walk clients through their designs before they have been built, supplying vital opportunities for feedback and alteration.
VR also makes it easier to turn paper plans into 3D computer models, and then into immersive VR simulations. Exploring building designs through VR helps potential clients to better understand an architect’s work.
3D Construction Models
Virtual Reality make it possible to display data in 3D displays, which can then be interacted with in a dynamic manner. Founded in 2016, Virtualitics have created a virtual platform to offer detailed and engaging data visualisation techniques.
The innovative presentation of data through VR is an important step in discovering insights into business operations and finding potential outliers which need to be addressed.
Manufacturers use VR to eliminate the need for expensive, full scale prototypes of their designs. Since 2007, Airbus has used VR technology RAMSIS to simulate the interior design of cabins.
The immersive experience of VR helps manufacturers to take a comprehensive view on alterations, including important safety features such as the reachability of oxygen masks and life jackets.
With apps like Oculus Cinema, I can be even more deeply immersed in my movie experiences. I can watch movies on a huge virtual screen, something like my own personal theater, or even watch as if I was inside the movie itself, surrounded by the imagery and sound effects.
With the Guided Meditation VR program, I can find my happy place by putting on an Oculus headset and becoming immersed in one of four relaxing environments. The meditation experience can reduce the stress and anxiety I get from my daily life.
Is it a good
Virtual reality is a good technology as it is more than just a trend. It has endless applications for immersive environments and thus allows us to engage in dry runs in instances that might risk bodily or physical harm in some manner or another. Aside from being used in serious fields such as military and healthcare, virtual reality also has entertainment uses such as in fashion and gaming.
In addition, the technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread. Therefore, we can expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality.