What Is Virtual Reality


I.
The term Virtual Reality (VR) is used by many different people with many
meanings. There are some people to whom VR is a specific collection of
technologies, that is a Head Mounted Display, Glove Input Device and Audio.
Some other people stretch the term to include conventional books, movies or
pure fantasy and imagination. The NSF taxonomy mentioned in the
introduction can cover these as well. However, my personal preference, and
for purposes of this paper, we restrict VR to computer mediated systems.
The best definition of Virtual Reality I have seen to date comes from the
book "The Silicon Mirage" (see section on VR Books):

"Virtual Reality is a way for humans to visualize, ...

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world, at least with near real time control of the viewpoint,
in my opinion, is a critical test for a 'virtual reality'.

Some people object to the term "Virtual Reality", saying it is an oxymoron.
Other terms that have been used are Synthetic Environments, Cyberspace,
Artificial Reality, Simulator Technology, etc. VR is the most common and
sexiest. It has caught the attention of the media.

The applications being developed for VR run a wide spectrum, from games to
architectural and business planning. Many applications are worlds that are
very similar to our own, like CAD or architectural modeling. Some
applications provide ways of viewing from an advantageous perspective not
possible with the real world, like scientific simulators and telepresense
systems, air traffic control systems. Other applications are much different
from anything we have ever directly experienced before. These latter
applications may be the hardest, and most interesting systems. Visualizing
the ebb and ...

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Reality" and "Artificial Reality II". At least
one commercial system uses this approach, the Mandala system. This system
is based on a Commodore Amiga with some added hardware and software. A
version of the Mandala is used by the cable TV channel Nickelodeon for a
game show (Nick Arcade) to put the contestants into what appears to be a
large video game.

I.1.3. Immersive Systems

The ultimate VR systems completely immerse the user's personal viewpoint
inside the virtual world. These "immersive" VR systems are often equipped
with a Head Mounted Display (HMD). This is a helmet or a face mask that
holds the visual and auditory displays. The helmet may be free ranging,
tethered, or it ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/3/2004 12:20:03 PM
Category: Computers
Words: 4298
Pages: 16

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