Virtual reality was nothing more than a fantasy a few decades ago. It was first featured in a 1982 movie, Tron, which showed one of the earliest versions of VR. Two decades later, Spy Kids 3-D (2003) came out featuring the same “futuristic” tech. Now, virtual reality is a major trend in the gaming, education and medical industries.
What Exactly is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment designed to look “real” or totally different from what you consider normal. It comes complete with life-size objects and realistic scenes that trick the human brain into believing they are real. You’ll need a pair of VR glasses and a headset to interact with this virtual environment.
On top of that, this tech allows users to view the virtual world with a stereoscopic view, just like you normally do. And, you can move around while interacting with virtual objects.
The Software Part of Virtual Reality
Just as with most techs, software plays a significant role in making an imaginary world come to life. VR developers are responsible for building the 3-D environment with interactive components that look and feel like the real deal. Of course, there’s a lot of work that goes into developing these applications. And that makes VR development a lucrative career for those who dare to touch it.
It is this software bit that allows people to virtually test products, learn how to build complex things or enjoy an interactive game. It does this by simulating vision, touch and even smell. It is the gatekeeper to the artificial world.
The Hardware Bit
To complete the VR experience, researchers had to build specialised hardware to work with the complex VR software. The hardware comprises of a small dedicated computer that uses special gloves as the input. The VR glasses handle the vision part, and the controllers allow users to interact with the virtual environment. Since this tech is relatively new, this hardware is still expensive. However, that should change in the future.
Difference Between Augmented Reality and VR
Even though VR technology is decades old, most people still confuse it with augmented reality. Here’s the thing:
AR uses real-world objects to create simulations. A good example would be the IKEA mobile app. It allows consumers to simulate possibilities by placing virtual furniture in a real room. It allows people to choose colours, styles and placement before pulling the trigger on the purchase. And, you don’t need specialised equipment such as VR glasses and controllers to use the app.
Conversely, VR is all about virtual objects and imaginary scenes. It does not use any real-world objects, which draws the line between it and augmented reality. That also means you will have to spend some money buying extra equipment for VR purposes.