INF: 103 Computer Literacy
October 2, 2011
Imagine being able to just look at water and began to swim with no swimming lessons. Perhaps walk through space and connect molecules together. These are a number of dreams that have come with the invention of virtual reality. Since the introduction of computers, many enhanced applications enhancements applications have implemented. The newest technology is that of artificial reality, or "virtual reality" (VR). When Morton Heilig first obtained a patent for his "Sensorama Simulator" in 1962, he had no idea that 30 years later people would still be trying to simulate reality and that they would be doing it so effectively. Jaron Lanier first coined the phrase "virtual reality" around 1989, and it has stuck ever since. Unfortunately, this catchy name has caused people to dream up incredible uses for this technology including using it as a sort of drug. This became evident when, among other people, Timothy Leary became interested in VR. This has also worried some of the researchers who are trying to create very real applications for medical, space, physical, chemical, and entertainment uses among other things. In order to create this alternate reality, however, you need to find ways to create the illusion of reality with a piece of machinery known as the computer. This is possible with several computer user interfaces used to simulate the senses. Among these, are stereoscopic glasses to make the simulated world look real, a 3D auditory display to give depth to sound, gloves aligned with sensors to simulate tactile feedback, and head trackers to follow the orientation of the head. Since the technology is fairly young, these interfaces have not been perfected, making for a somewhat cartoonish simulated reality. Stereoscopic vision is probably the most important feature of VR because in real life, people rely mainly on vision to...