Virtual reality (VR) is not a new concept. It made its way into our society as early as the 1980s, initially in the form of expensive and bulky equipment, and later in the form of more affordable devices for home use. VR technology is used in many ways, from gaming and entertainment to training and education. But there are still some aspects of virtual reality that are less well known. Here are some fascinating facts about virtual reality that you may have never heard of.
1. origins in art and literature
Although the technology that makes virtual reality possible has only been developed in recent decades, the idea of a “virtual reality” dates back to the 19th century. In his 1816 story “The Sandman,” E.T.A. Hoffmann describes an automated man who is so human that he deceives a woman. This concept of a created reality is also found in many other works of literature and art, long before technological implementation became possible.
2. the first VR headset was developed in the 1960s
Ivan Sutherland, often referred to as the “father of computer graphics,” developed the first head-mounted display (HMD) with his student Bob Sproull in 1968, also known as the “Sword of Damocles” because of its massive and menacing appearance. This device was able to create simple wireframe rooms that the user could virtually immerse themselves in.
3. NASA uses VR for astronaut training
NASA has been using virtual reality to prepare astronauts for their missions in space since the 1990s. Johnson Space Center has an entire VR training facility where astronauts can practice complex tasks and emergency scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. It is an invaluable tool for preparing for the unpredictable conditions of space.
4. the application of VR in medicine
Medicine is another field in which VR plays a significant role. In addition to training surgeons in complex surgical techniques, VR is also used to help patients relieve pain and aid in rehabilitation after strokes. It also helps treat mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias.
5. virtual tourism
Virtual reality allows us to visit places we would otherwise not be able to reach, whether due to financial or health constraints or current pandemic conditions. Whether you want to visit the pyramids of Giza, the bottom of the ocean, or Mars, VR makes it possible.
6. virtual taste and smell
Although virtual reality focuses mainly on the visual and auditory experience, there is research that looks at simulating taste and smell. Researchers at the University of Singapore have developed a digital device that can create “digital tastes” by stimulating taste buds through electrical stimulation and targeted heat control. Similarly, there are efforts to integrate smell into virtual reality to enhance the immersive experience.
7. virtual reality in archaeology
Archaeologists are using VR to reconstruct historical sites and give people a glimpse into civilizations long gone. This allows researchers to test hypotheses about architectural structures and uses, and the public to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors.
8. improvement of social skills
VR is also used in education and psychology to help people improve their social skills. This can be done, for example, by interacting with virtual characters in various social situations. This application can be especially useful for people who have difficulties in social situations, such as people with autism.
In summary, virtual reality is a fascinating technology that goes far beyond playing video games. It has the potential to profoundly change the way we learn, work and interact. And as we get used to the idea of virtual worlds, we can look forward to what else the future of VR has in store for us.