What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual means ‘Near or Implied’ & Reality means the state of things as they actually exist, thus virtual reality is nothing but ‘Near Reality’. Virtual Reality is a simulation of a physical entity into a virtual or imaginary environment that is created using software’s or programs that defy beliefs of a user compelling him/her to accept it as actual reality.

Definition of Virtual Reality

In simple terms, Virtual Reality is a fully immersive computer simulated environment that gives the users the feeling of being in that environment instead of the one they are actually in

We experience the world through our senses and perceptions using our five senses viz touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing all this is done with the help of our incredible brain. In simple words, our entire sense of reality is due to the combination of sense making mechanism of the brain and sensory information that we perceive. Virtual Reality actually exploits and plays with the sensations & perceptions of our brain by simulating an artificial environment which actually doesn’t really exists but our brains thinks that it does it’s just like make belief

In order to feel the sensation of immersion in virtual reality, it requires low latency and a high frame rate at least 95 frames/sec. Pixel persistence lower than 3 ms is required or else the user might feel sick.

VR MapSource: Wikipedia

Applications of Virtual Reality

The first thing which comes to our mind when we think about virtual reality is gaming, we immediately imagine a human being with a headgear on his face. But applications of VR are not limited to just gaming. Remember Keanu Reeves in the matrix it seemed as a fantasy at that time but today that isn’t really a fad or fantasy anymore its hardcore physical technology which is been used by Engineers, Architects, Archaeologists, Doctors, Scientists, Military and the list can go on.

Gaming

HMD or head mounted displays are one of the virtual technology devices used for virtual gaming experiences. Along with this, devices such as Wii Remote, PlayStation Move/Eye, Kinect are based on virtual reality which tracks and sends motions inputs of the players to the game. Also, the concept of gamification is being used in order to implement VR to encourage fitness.

Engineering & Architecture

Virtual reality plays a major role in simulating 3-dimensional models of infrastructures, designs which can provide a real-life experience of the physical designs or infrastructures beforehand. This helps is reducing considerable costs and expenses which can be incurred in a prototype. Examples: Cars, Infrastructures, Machines, airplanes etc.  can be virtually designed and pretested for factors such as aerodynamics and sustainability and safety etc.

Doctors & Medical

Whether we accept it or not but our brain plays a major role in the physical well-being of our health. Healthcare industry is very efficiently using VR technology to aid and treat patients both physically and mentally. Technology such as Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) is majorly used to treat anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) & Phobias. Virtual operations & treatments are being able to execute with the help of Telemedicine (Monitoring, Examining & Operating patients remotely) e.g. da Vinci Surgical Robot developed in 2009, has brought minimally invasive surgery to more than 3 million patients worldwide till date.

Education & Training

Do you remember X-Men’s Danger Room? For those who don’t know, the Danger Room in X-Men was a fictional training facility where all the X-Men’s use to train it was nothing but a reincarnation of the X-mansion which somehow is similar to the Virtual Reality technology seemed far-fetched at that time, right?

Doctors & Scientists today are using virtual reality on similar lines but their Danger Rooms are called as simulators viz Surgical Simulators, Flight Simulators and VR Simulators etc. Surgical simulators provide the medical students or doctors with a virtual environment where they can perform surgeries without harming anyone. Similarly, flight simulator and VR simulators provide astronauts and pilots with a virtual experience of an actual flight experience. Space agencies like NASA and JAXA ESA, ISRO etc. have been using VR since years now immersive VR technology helps astronauts to experience zero gravity and actual space environment here itself on earth.

The above are the few examples of how VR technology is used but the mainstream potential of the technology is limitless and seamless. Along with these uses the technology has major implementations in the field of Cinema and Entertainment, Research, Health & Safety, Heritage & Archaeology, Fine Arts, Marketing, & Music & Concerts etc.

Virtual Reality has become considerably cheaper and affordable its applications are both amusing and serious. We don’t know what we will get to experience in the future with the aid of Virtual Reality but one thing is for sure it is definitely going to be mesmerizing😊