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July 05, 2017 3 min read

Virtual reality was originally developed a long time ago. Its aim at the time was to create an illusion in which a person could feel as if he or she was present somewhere other than where they actually were. The earliest example of virtual reality can be seen in 360-degree murals as well as panoramic paintings of the nineteenth century. Then in the early part of the twentieth century we saw the introduction of flight simulators. This was followed by science fiction stories that predicted that the world would soon become familiar with Virtual Reality. Here is a brief look at the evolution of Virtual Reality.

1956: First VR machine ‘Sensorama’ by Morton L. Heilig

A cinematographer called Morton L. Heilig came up with what he called the Sensorama, which was patented later in the year 1962. This invention was capable of simulating a person’s every sense and featured stereo speakers as well as stereophonic 3D display. To make this invention even better Heilig also created his own short films, which were shot and produced as well as edited by him.

1960: Morton L. Heilig creates the Telesphere Mask

Later in the year 1960, Heilig came out with a new invention, which he called the Telesphere Mask. This is the first time that the world was introduced to a head-mounted display that boasted of stereo 3D as well as wide vision and stereophonic sound.

1987: Jaron Lanier launches the term ‘Virtual Reality’

Although many new inventions dealing with Virtual Reality were being introduced, the term Virtual Reality was only formalized in the year 1987 when Jaron Lanier first used it. Lanier used his company VPL to develop new virtual reality gear like the Dataglove and EyePhone display.

1992: Virtual Reality introduces to a wider audience

In 1992, a movie called the Lawnmower Man introduced the concept of Virtual Reality to a much wider segment of people. This movie was partially inspired by Lanier’s early works and featured Lanier, whose role was played by the well-known actor Pierce Brosnan. 

1993: SEGA new Virtual Reality headset

In 1993, SEGA announced a new pair of Virtual Reality glasses in the form of the Sega VR headset. This headset boasted of stereophonic sound as well as a LCD screen, which was mounted in the visor.

1996: Nintendo launches its headset

Three years later, the Nintendo Virtual Boy was introduced into the market as a 3D gaming console that could display real 3D graphics. Priced at about $180, it was first introduced in Japan and later in the USA.

2007: Virtual warzone to help PTSD sufferers

For about two decades the idea that Virtual Reality could be used to help treat PTSD sufferers had been gaining momentum. PTSD patients who had tried other means to overcome their trauma but to no avail found that Virtual Warzone was able to help them tremendously.

2008: Simulator to give students realistic practice at operating

In 2008, simulators were used to give students realistic practice at operating. Simulation is able to help people practice as well as learn things that they could then apply in their discipline. This technique replaced as well as amplified real life experiences with guided ones.

2014: Google Cardboard & Facebook with Oculus VR

In 2014, Google threw challenged Facebook with its latest Virtual Reality headset called the Google Cardboard. This smartphone Virtual Reality headset is set to rival Facebook and its Oculus Rift.

2017: The future of virtual reality is bright

Contrary to popular expectation, Virtual Reality is blowing up. With wireless technology improving by the day it is now possible to connect a VR headset to a PC or console without needing wires. Moreover, prices of VR headsets are set to fall and are available for everyone. Finally, expensive Virtual Reality headset will become the new reality. All these will ensure that Virtual Reality thrives and grows further in the twenty-first century.

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