The History of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology is not as new as it seems. In fact, this innovation sports extensive history with a notion which dates back to 1930. This article will debunk everything you need to know about the history of Virtual Reality and its evolution. Read on.

At a glance

It has been found that VR technology was specifically designed for optical tricks prior to 1900.  In 1838, Charles Wheaton created the stereoscope, which was considered as the first discovery in VR history. This invention displayed a two side-by-side picture, giving the viewer an amazing sense of depth. Because of this invention, we’ve found photography, film as well as 3D movies.

It didn’t just end there. Inventors and scientists enhanced the capabilities of stereoscope to make more machines. Morton Heilig and his curious mind improved Sensorama, the very first equipment that can give users an exceptional feel via the use of our senses.

On the other hand, Ivan Sutherland and David Evans created the first HMD (head mounted display) called The Sword of Damocles. It was a new idea which not only changed the entire VR history, but as well as the augmented reality. Through this headgear, you can view grid-like surface. It is even dubbed as the main foundation of virtual reality headsets.

After that, inventors started to construct more innovative simulation and VR devices. Thus, they’ve came up with the very first large-scale VR technology known as the flight simulation. This invention integrated a fuselage replica which has motors and controls tailored to assist airmen know how to operate a plane before plunging into the real thing.

Then in 1979, Thomas Furnness, often referred as the Grandfather of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality developed HMD accurate for flight simulator.

VR in video games

Unfortunately, video game industry crashed during 1983. But for Nintendo, this is not a tragedy but an opportunity. After four years, the company experimented Famicom, one of their best-selling home entertainment systems with virtual reality. Thus, they launched the Famicom 3D system.

It boasts clunky glasses allowing users witness 3D visuals while playing the game. Nevertheless, Nintendo stop producing this equipment due to poor sales and reception.

Instead of giving up, Nintendo proceeded on their plan B. They made another virtual headset. Nintendo soon introduced Virtual Boy, the first ever console which utilize 3D stereoscopic graphics. The result was terrible as it had several flaws. Apart from that, the system is not easy to use.

Year 2000 and beyond

Here comes 21st century — introducing several breakthroughs in different areas of virtual technology. State-of-the-art multi-directional motion tracking and higher resolution displays have been included into the latest HMDs. Additionally, audio engines and games have been enhanced to provide VR developers the right tools to make more immersive results.

These days, the focus on binaural audio and precise HRTF keeps on increasing since tons of companies are investing to the industry. Furthermore, the development in terms of higher-resolution display is now more vital since it creates more immersion for the user.

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