A history of VR

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Con­trary to the im­age of a per­son with a light­weight brick (or card­board) strapped to their faces, the idea of “vir­tual re­al­ity” was a sim­ple one: to recre­ate or sim­u­late an en­vi­ron­ment other than the one a per­son is cur­rently in. Of course, as tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, the stan­dards of what is re­al­is­tic enough to be con­sid­ered VR rises; what was im­mer­sive enough back then no longer does the job, much like how to­day we go for 3D movies when theater used to suf­fice once upon a time.

Vi­sion, be­ing one of our most vi­tal senses, is key to the func­tion­al­ity of VR and its equip­ment. Es­sen­tially, they trick our vi­sion into hav­ing us be­lieve we are in a dif­fer­ent world; a dif­fer­ent re­al­ity, a vir­tual re­al­ity. These were ev­i­dent in the 60s, with mil­i­tary and med­i­cal sim­u­la­tors serv­ing as train­ing for per­son­nel, pre­par­ing them for the even­tual en­counter with a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in real life. Tech such as this was ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially so back then. Only in­sti­tu­tions such as these saw VR as a ne­ces­sity, and had the kind of money to in­vest in it. For ev­ery­one else, it was sim­ply too ex­pen­sive and, with com­puter tech­nol­ogy back then, sim­ply not vis­ually im­mer­sive enough. The dream of VR – if any­one had it – was buried be­neath a pile of other more achiev­able ones, the In­ter­net be­ing one of them.

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