Have you ever imagined yourself getting teleported to an entirely different dimension? Like getting transported to a serene beach resort, a VIP seat at Coldplay’s concert, a Virtual Reality theater, or an uncharted island with just a press of a button? We should be grateful to the technological improvements of Virtual Reality (VR), these dreamy experiences are not that far to reach.
Virtual Reality is defined as “the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and while there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions”.
Virtual Reality is changing our lifestyles because it has opened sales opportunities to various marketing professionals. Iconic brands such as The North Face, Coca Cola and Sony Pictures have started utilizing VR to increase engagement with their consumers.
Read on as we examine the evolution of Virtual Reality over time and how it continues to develop as technology advances from Sawyer’s view-master in the 1940’s to the augmented reality of Microsoft's Hololens.
In the early 1930’s, the link trainer was produced. It was a highly electromechanical commercial flight simulator patented in 1931. In 1940’s, the Sawyer’s View Master was invented. It in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair and was originally intended as an educational device for adults, but later became a children’s toy. It produced stereoscopic 3D pictures and had a binocular-style image viewer.
Sawyer’s View Master
In the 1950’s, the Sensorama was invented. It was an arcade-style theater cabinet that made full immersion in a film, stimulating all the senses. It included stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, smell generators and a chair that vibrated. It was followed by a telesphere mask in 1960’s which featured stereoscopic 3D and wide vision with stereo sound, but one thing it lacked was motion tracking.
Aspen Movie Map was prouced in the 1970's, which was an interactive virtual tour of Aspen, Colorado. It played back on a touch-screen display with navigation buttons that allowed users to move around. The following decade, the VPL eyephone was manufactured in the 1980’s. It was a headset and gloves which used hand and head tracking to immerse users in computer simulation. It was further advanced and was transformed into Nintendo Virtual Boy in the 90’s. It has a dual screen design to create the illusion of 3D using 2D images and it was the first ever home virtual reality device used for gaming.
Nintendo Virtual Boy
In the year 2000, virtual gaming machines sprouted like mushrooms, which features an enclosed gaming station with a headset, hand controllers plus a gaming pod. In 2010, Microsoft Kinect was introduced. It is a motion-sensing gaming system, creating a digitized version of the user that interacts with the virtual world on screen.
Microsoft Xbox 350 Kinect
The latest VR device which was released in 2016 is the Microsoft Hololens. It features a a holographic headset and includes a standalone device with no phones involved.
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