You've heard the stories, seen some viral goofs of people falling over and now it's time to find out what the heck virtual reality (VR) is and how you can partake in this futuristic activity.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a computer generated environment with varying levels of interaction, it allows you to experience a different reality than the one you are currently in. The VR environment is commonly viewed using a VR headset, that when worn is a viewfinder into another world.
In short, put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and trick your brain into thinking you're in a different place.
virtualˈvəːtʃʊ(ə)l,ˈvəːtjʊəl/1. almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition.2. not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.
Realityrɪˈalɪti/1. the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.2. the state or quality of having existence or substance.
Why is it so popular all of a sudden?
VR has been around for a longtime but it hasn't always been so convincing or convenient. Back in the day (1950's) fair goers would place their eye's into Sensorama's; a machine that would play a video and emit wind and smells to envelop the user's senses. It was an awesome piece of technology for it's time.
Now we can move past the clunky telephone box sized machine and use a mobile phone to do a similar job. It's mobile phone technology that has now made VR more convincing and convenient. The accelerometer inside a mobile device is used to help orientate it's image with where the user is looking. The high definition screens add great detail to what is being viewed. And additional sensors can track controllers worn by the user so they can interact with the virtual world, adding another opportunity to convince the brain that it's somewhere else.
Envelop your senses
VR doesn't stop at what is being seen. They're are products appearing on the market such as haptic suits and gloves that add the sense of touch. 360 binaural audio can surround you in the way surround sound does and they're have even been scent orientated devices that emit the smell of pizza or freshly cut grass. The above image is a tongue in cheek attempt to accompany the latest South Park game.
The possibilities and application's of virtual reality are pretty endless. You can gather more insight into what may be the future of vr with popular sci-fi books such as Snow Crash or Ready player One.
Where can I experience virtual reality?
VR headsets are readily available at mobile phone stores and of course the internet. I was filling up on petrol the other day and found that the garage was selling headsets you can slip your phone into!
To figure out what headset is right for you check out this post - Which headset is right for me? or head over to our contact page and get in touch and we will be happy to help.