Virtual Reality (VR), sometimes called Virtual Environments (VE) has drawn much attention in the last few years. The Virtual Reality uses a huge number of technologies to produce a Virtual world so that a user can interact and manipulate with the virtual objects in the so produced Virtual Worlds. With the aid of some specially developed gadgets like a Head Mounted Display, Electronic Glove and Mechanical armatures that fit the human organs we can immerse the human into the Virtual world. The simulation technique is combined with the motion of the human to produce the output that what human expects for. For example the person in a Virtual world looks at a particular object then he has to get the feeling that he is actually looking at that object and he should also get the feeling of the sounds that come from that object. In this paper a historical overview of virtual reality is presented, types, architecture of VR systems are listed, followed by applications of this technology in science, work, and entertainment areas. Finally, the future of VR is considered.
Virtual Reality is a way for humans to visualize, manipulate and interact with computers and extremely complex data”.
Here the word visualization refers to the computer-generated outputs such as computer graphics, simulations, and other such as the CAD models. Here the outputs may be animations that can be controlled easily by scripts. Here the human can directly interact and manipulate with these animations.
The most difficult thing in the Virtual Reality is to produce the interaction between Virtual world and the human but not the production of the Virtual world. The type of Virtual Reality in which the human is actually immersed into the Virtual world is called the immersive Virtual Reality. In such a type of Virtual Reality the human is completely isolated from the outside world and he is placed an entirely computer generated world.
The applications being developed for Virtual Reality are wide range utilities. Among them the real time applications occupy the prominent place.
Types of Virtual Reality Systems
There are different types of Virtual Reality systems are:
(a) Immersive Systems
The highest priority is being given to the immersive systems. As we have already mentioned the immersive systems rules out the entire real world and places the human in a completely computer generated animation world.
(b) Window on World (WoW)
It is a normal Virtual world that has been developed on a desktop PC. The most common form of the WoW are computer games that uses 3d simulation of the real worlds. Here the user has to peep into the Virtual world using a monitor placed on his desktop.
(c) Video Mapping
This is a technique used to map the motion of a human using special electronic device like cameras. Here the input to the computer is the motion of the human and the output is the 2d graphical image of the human showing his human.
(d) Tele presence
This is another technique in Virtual Reality where we use some remote sensors placed some where in the Virtual world that maps the human actions and correlates them to the actions that has to be done by the objects in the Virtual world. This type of Virtual Reality is being used by the fire fighters in some critical conditions. Special Robots fixed with this type of sensors help them a lot.
(e) Mixed Reality
This is a technique combining the Virtual Reality systems and the telepresence. Here the inputs to both the telepresence and Virtual Reality systems are fed as inputs. The fighters see the maps generated by the computers and correlate them with the data available with them. The surgeons correlate the images taken by the CAT scans and the ones taken by the computers.
Future of Virtual Reality
Yesterday Virtual Reality was a science fiction fantasy. Today it is a research topic in laboratories and amusement parks. Tomorrow it will certainly replace our televisions and computers. There are already a lot of organizations deemed towards the development of the Virtual Reality. Many researches are being done to find more and more applications of Virtual Reality. In the forth coming days the web sites developed using Virtual Reality will replace the entire present web industry. Even a virtual Jurassic Park may be developed in USA in a short span of days. Let’s hope for a bright future of this emerging technology.
The technology is being developed rapidly and shows considerable potential. The ability of Virtual Reality to produce realistic worlds of data, objects and environments, with which the users can interact and manipulate in a realistic and an intuitive manner, opens up a vast wealth of possibilities for work-related applications. The concept of Virtual Reality provides an innovative mix of entertainment, education and State-of-Art. Virtual reality technology will transport guests to different worlds.
From waterbeds to gyroscopes and hydraulic units, a variety of platforms will provide a new kind of travel; into Cyberspace; into virtual worlds where one can swim with the dolphins and experience intense sensory stimulation. As movement of people is becoming more and more costly with time, the scope of Virtual Reality is growing. Working in many fields like medicine, rocket launching, massive constructions, it is very important to be more precise and accurate and here Virtual Reality provides a solution by providing a platform which makes it possible by using the applications of Virtual Reality.