Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is not to be mixed with augmented reality, virtual reality provides an individual with total immersion. Creating a realistic 3D image or artificial environment that is created with a mixture of interactive hardware and software, in which the individual reacts with in a seemingly real or physical way.

Virtual Reality Key Elements

Virtual World

A virtual world is a 3D environment that is usually realized through a medium. An individual can interact with others and interact with objects created. In a virtual world, visual perspectives are responsive to changes in movement and interactions mimic those experienced in the real world.

Immersion

Virtual reality immersion is the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. It envelopes a sense of presence, which makes the brain truly believes that they are somewhere that they are not.

Mental Immersion

Mental Immersion is a deep mental state of engagement, with suspension of disbelief that one is in a virtual environment.

Physical Immersion

Physical immersion is where one exhibits physical engagement in a virtual environment, with suspension of disbelief that one is in a virtual environment.

Sensory Feedback

Virtual reality requires all senses to be activated. The main ones include vision, hearing and touch. Stimulating all these senses provides sensory feedback. This is done through the use of integrated hardware and software known as inputs. Examples of this hardware and inputs are discussed below as key components to a virtual reality system, which include head mounted displays (HMD).

Interactivity

The element of interaction is crucial for virtual reality experiences to provide users with enough comfort to naturally engage with the virtual environment. The virtual environment must respond quickly to capture the attention of the user and provide a sense of immersion.

Virtual Reality Components

Headsets

A virtual reality (VR) headset is a device that you wear over your eyes like a pair of goggles. It blocks out all external light and portrays an image on HD screens in front of your eyes for full immersion. Many companies manufacture VR headsets, typically for console and PC. Several off these companies include Sony, Samsung, Apple and Google, some of which their products will be mentioned below.

Facebook

Facebook acquired Oculus Rift in a bid to expand their research technology into the virtual reality world. Unlike many who focus on VR in gaming, Facebook aims to apply this new revolutionary technology into a wide array of uses such a virtual meetings and virtual trips.

Samsung

Samsung has always been a leader in the manufacturing of electronics and it is no doubt they are one of the leading companies in the development of virtual reality related technology. Primarily powered by Oculus, it is compatible with the Galaxy series of the Smartphone.

Alphabet

Alpabet is the holding company of Google and one of the industry leaders in the development of virtual reality. They have a dedicated division that focus solely on virtual reality and with the recent partnership with big industry names (Clay Bavor, Scorr Brook); Alphabet is quickly becoming the industry leader in development of VR headsets. Rumours had it that the headset may not need a computer and will be fitted with outward facing cameras.

GoPro

GoPro has already established themselves as a highly reputable brand for high action video shots. Their company has expanded and began focusing on 360, fully immersive content designed for virtual reality entertainment. These include gadgets such as camera mounts which can accommodate up to 16 cameras, the same direction taken by creators of VR content.

Apple

Apple recently obtained Metaio, a VR firm that is dedicated for engineering virtual catalogue for Ikea. Although there are not many updates and news regarding their VR expansion, this acquisition is a clear sign that Apple is eager to enter the VR market.

Sony

Sony is already a significantly strong player in VR with revolutionary products such as PlayStation VR headsets. They cater more towards VR games, to create a whole new gaming experience. It is also important to remember that Sony VR headsets are now retailing lower than the Oculus by Facebook.

Runtime Environments

The runtime environment provides a state for the target machine to have access to resources such as software libraries, system variables and environment variables, and provide all necessary services and support to the processes involved in the execution of the application or program. In certain software or applications such as Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer the runtime environment is available to end users as well.

Software developers need a runtime environment to test their software’s functioning. As a result, all software development applications include a runtime environment component which allows the testing of the application during execution. Tracking bugs or debugging for any errors are done in most applications with the help of runtime environments. Runtime execution continues even if the application or program crashes. Most runtime environments are capable of reporting of why an application or program crashed. One of the more popular runtime environments is Java, which helps Java applets and applications to be executed in any machine which has a Java runtime environment installed.

Virtual Reality Examples

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is the headset that started the new age of VR. the Rift plugs into your computer’s DVI (or HDMI) and USB ports and tracks your head movements to provide 3D imagery on its stereo screens.

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HTC Vive Pro

The new HTC Vive Pro takes the place of the original Vive, which was made in collaboration with PC games giant Valve. The Pro makes several minor upgrades that enhance the overall experience, like a better head strap that comes with built-in headphones.

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