Virtual Reality as Jaron Lanier Envisioned It.

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VR Essay

2. Virtual Reality as Lanier envisioned it has not eventuated, yet the desires he articulated live on. Discuss.

To discuss Lanier’s keen views and anticipations regarding Virtual Reality back in the mid 1980s, it would be useful to first cover exactly how far Virtual Reality has progressed up until today. This essay will begin by discussing the history of Virtual Reality and the usage trends. That discussion will then be used to preface a discussion about Lanier’s views that were expressed in A Vintage Virtual Reality Interview. The essay will then finish off by looking at particularly interesting views held by some of today’s futurists and these views will be related back to Lanier’s original exuberant view of Virtual
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This vision then guided nearly every successive development in the field of Virtual Reality.

Sutherland’s concept featured: * A virtual world that appears real to any observer, seen through an HMD and augmented through three-dimensional sound and tactile stimuli * A computer that maintains the world model in real time * The ability for users to manipulate virtual objects in a realistic, intuitive way

In 1966, Sutherland then went forth and built an HMD that was connected to a computer system. All the graphics were created by the computer system and the HMD could also display images in stereo, giving the illusion of depth.
The HMD could even track the user’s head movements so that the field of view would change appropriately as the user looked around.

Once the technology had been developed to a point where it could actually be utilized, VR was often seen as more of a tool than a new method of entertainment. The technology was fine-tuned and then used in flight simulators during the 70s to train pilots before they got into a real plane. The technology then made its way to the entertainment industry during the video-game boom of the 80s. Since its inception, Virtual Reality technology has found a wide range of uses in very unpredictable ways. The military, the space program, medical students and even driving schools use virtual training environments that take place in a version of Virtual Reality.


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